Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of
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Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib of
Star that Guides (Najm-ul-Huda) by Hazrat Mirza
Ghulam Ahmad Sahib of
> Advent of the Promised Messiah
Books Section > by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib of Qadian > The Star that Guides (Najm-ul-Huda) by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib of Qadian > Advent of the Promised Messiah
of the Promised Messiah:
After this brief note on the evidence of the truth of Islam I shall now return to the main topic of my narrative. I shall describe some of the incidents of my own life and of the blessings which the great God had been pleased to vouchsafe to me and which form a part of the message I have been commanded to bear to mankind and discharge with the sanctify of a debt.
Brief Account of
the Life of the Promised Messiah:
"I have a Friend and I am filled with His Love,
Thus I had withdrawn myself from men and having detached myself from all earthly love or hate consecrated myself wholly to God. For, while I was still young, I had come to realise that God had created me for a higher purpose. My mind yearned after spiritual advancement and communication with God. The jewel of my nature sparkled even on the surface and wanted not the miner to dig to discover it. My father felt sad on my account and my indifference to and want of interest in worldly matters troubled him and filled him with anxiety. It was his constant wish to see me rise in fortune and to regain the power and prestige of my forefathers. He wanted that I should achieve the highest worldly eminence. But God had designed other eminence for me. And it came to pass as God had wished. He vouchsafed to me a light in the gloom of a long dark night, and illumined my mind in order to illumine nations and peoples. He was gracious to me and made me the Messiah regarding whom he had given a promise of old. He helped me in diverse ways and manifested His signs. He displayed in the heavens the signs of the eclipse of the sun and the moon, in order to prove the truth of my claim and to save it from imputation of being an idle myth. When I announced my claim of being the Promised Messiah the people of my country looked upon me with extreme disfavour. They called me a heretic and rejected me and would have killed me had not the fear of the rulers restrained their hands. They argued that the Promised Messiah would descend from the sky as it was written in the ancient books, and decided by the consensus of theologians. They struck to that opinion and when I spoke to them they would not listen to me, and when I tried to explain things to them, they would not understand. I have, therefore, resolved to carry my message to other people so as to make them witnesses against these people, and thus have a double condemnation against my adversaries. And my help is with the Lord, the Best of Masters and the Best of Helpers.
Message of the
'Listen to my words, O Earth!'
This account is addressed to prominent and leading men of all communities. It is from Ahmad, the Servant of God, against whom the arrow of abuse has been aimed upon the bow. It is my hope that my readers will not be hasty in passing judgement against me and will not reject my words before they have been tested, but that they will give me a patient hearing and afterwards come to a decision as they may be prompted by God. And I pray that God may prompt in their hearts, thoughts which are true and right, and God is the Best Guide and the Best Master.
Know then that I, Ahmad, have been gifted with revelations and spiritual knowledge, such as is usually given to God's chosen ones, and have been sent in the beginning of the Muslim era so that I may rectify the beliefs of the Muslims, and as a judge I may decide the disputes that have cropped up among them, and break the power of the Cross with the help of heavenly signs, and bring about a reformation in the earth with my God-given power, and that God, by His clear and unmistakable words, has given me the names "Promised Messiah" and "Mahdi". I am not one of the impostors, nor one given to lies or to tempting men to sin. It is well-known what ultimate fate awaits such impostors.
What I say is indeed a revelation from the Lord. To test their truth I had imposed upon myself the condition that I should not follow any of my revelations until they had been repeated to me time after time and that they should fully conform to the teachings of the Holy Quran and the Hadith. I had also made it a condition that I must weigh every aspect of those revelations and must not accept them save with the concurrent testimony of supernatural signs. God is my witness, that I found my revelations perfectly fulfil all these conditions. I found them to be a veritable garden of truth and not a dry bush which may conceal many a serpent. Moreover, the revelations came to me at a time when my heart had been consumed in the love of God and a veritable death had come over me. I had suffered diverse torments, and been crushed under various afflictions, and I had ceased to feel a longing for wife and children. Then, at last was the design of God fulfilled, and the path was made clear for me, and my mind was made luminous like the moon. Two kinds of illuminations were vouchsafed to me, one of revelation and the other of reason. All this was a favour from the Lord, and no one has the power to intercept His favour.
It may also be noted that my revelations are full of prophecies. Now, the knowledge of the future is the special prerogative of God and it is not probable that God would grant access to such knowledge to one who is given to foul thoughts and a seeker of the world. Can it be believed that God would take into His confidence one who spreads the net of deceit in order to destroy God's creatures, who misleads God's people instead of guiding them, who is a foe to Islam, intent upon its ruin, who never brightened the face of Islam with the light of truth, who never devoted his nights or days to the thought of Islam and never put forth his endeavour to effect its revival? Who, on the contrary, by his falsehoods, helped to add to the rust that had already collected upon the human mind, and by his fabrications increased the dust of controversies among the Muslims? No, rather, God is sure to humiliate and overthrow such impostors and to make them among the accursed.
It may further be borne in mind that I had been receiving revelations for a long time, which for a period I kept to myself and never disclosed to the public. It was only when I was directly commanded to disclose them that I complied with the command. Moreover, the reports of the Holy Prophet have reached you that the Promised Messiah and Mahdi would appear at a time when the Cross would obtain universal ascendancy and that it will be the mission of the Promised Messiah and Mahdi to eradicate the evils and errors thereof, and to offer true guidance to the right-minded and that the men whom their impure lives and pride will keep back from him will be over-powered by the weapon of his arguments.
The fact that the word "descent" has been used in connection with the advent of the Promised Messiah indicates the fact that he would not come clad in armour and arms to wage a war, but that his kingdom will be of heaven and the only weapon he will wield will be that of his prayers.
Now, you can see with your own eyes how the religion of the Cross has obtained universal ascendancy and how its partisans have left no stone unturned to discredit Islam and to disparage and to humiliate its Holy Prophet (on whom be peace and blessings of God) and how stiff they have grown in their belief and how they have been fired with their prejudices and filled with self-conceit. Within a short time they have published innumerable books containing nothing but vituperations and falsehoods against Islam and its blessed Prophet. These books are indeed so foul that it pains one even to read them. You have also observed how their falsehoods have obtained a great currency in the world, how they have been lost to the sense of fairness and become a veritable menace to the continued existence of the Muslims, and how many a low and mean mind is being drawn towards them like a straw in the whirlpool.
I do not, of course, say that the British Government in any way abets them or assists them with funds. The British Government has indeed granted religious freedom to all its subjects and holds the balance evenly between them with the utmost fairness. Every religious community in India, in the matter of religion, now enjoys the dear boon of freedom and labour under no such disadvantages as they suffered during the days of the Sikh supremacy. From the time we came under the rule of Britain we have been living in peace and it is for this reason that we offer prayers for its rulers and their representatives. The Christian missions receive no special support from this Government. They derive their vast funds from subscriptions raised from their people. Every promised contribution is faithfully paid up and goes to fill their coffers. Every neophyte who joins their fold has an allowance assigned to him and his cares and anxieties are set at rest. Thus, the funds at the back of the missionaries serve to add to the weight of their words. But this does not mark the end of their toils. They have at their command all the instruments for enticing and capturing men, and, for this purpose they do not neglect to make use of every possible weapon, great or small. Parties of new converts are despatched to every town where they take up their residence and build their churches and invade the quarters of the Muslims. They circulate many falsehoods to deceive the inhabitants of the towns. In short, they avail themselves of every possible means to sow the seed of falsehood, and like locusts they spread over the land, the foes of all who venture to uphold the cause of truth. Thus have they overspread the country with disaster and death, petrifying by their false doctrines the virtues of the land. There is no home into which their doctrines have not found entrance.
The mass of our population who belonged to the humbler ranks was not equal to the conflict but found no way to escape it. Then fell a disaster upon Islam the like of which never happened in any previous age. It became like a city given up to pillage or like the woods filled with beasts, or like a country the population of which has been exterminated. The whole social system has been shattered. Now, let him who wills weep for this people. My tears are for Islam; how its ancient splendour has been lost. I grieve over the days to see how they have been changed. Men have deserted the straight path and turned to the wilderness. They have adopted the crooked by-lanes and prefer narrow, uneven tracks. They were many who as Muslims were leading a life of struggle and hardship.
To such, Christianity offered a new prospect and Christian society promised a new field for the satisfaction of their lust. Thus, hunger induced them to join the ranks of the converts. They bade farewell to Islam and were persuaded by their misery and their craving for enjoyment and wine to embrace Christianity. They were fools who lacked knowledge and wisdom, and were wanting in piety and purity. That was why they preferred to follow the prompting of their carnal natures and, in their misfortune, accepted what meant for them veritable error and ruin. In like manner, many of those born of high and respectable families, and even many sayyids (descendants of the Holy Prophet), were attracted to Christianity, for its acceptance threw open to them the door of unrestricted and unrestrained enjoyment, and emancipated them from the Islamic restrictions regarding diet.
Moreover, in the beginning of a neophyte's career, the missionaries, as a rule, are wont to help him with money and by other means. They refrain from noticing their faults and from visiting them with punishment even on the occurrence of a serious lapse, because they believe that the convert is protected by the purifying grace of the atonement. This increases the neophytes in their recklessness and many of them grow into confirmed rakes. They often mistakenly consider the foulness of their lives as a thing of merit. These men come to imbibe a strong aversion for Islam and freely abuse the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be on him) in spite of the fact that they were once among his followers. There are, of course, a few exceptions, who observe the rules of decency. The majority, however, conduct themselves as set forth above in order to ingratiate themselves with the missionaries and to win their money. They become rich with the funds of the missions and bloom like green bay trees. The missionaries love them for their perversions, for their foul and virulent tongues and their sophistries, and consider these as proof of their sincerity. They are deceived by their seeming piety and by their sanctimonious faces. They take them along with them in their journeys, associate with them in their camp, confide in them and make them sit on their boards and councils, and always treat them with generosity and consideration. These renegades flaunt their acquired wealth and decorate their persons and go about to meet their old friends, who might still be struggling against poverty and adversity. To such they relate their own stories, how from want and afflictions they have attained to affluence and how the missionaries have been generous to them, and the details of all the amenities which they now enjoy and the wealth they acquired. Thus, they continue to tempt them and to hold up before them visions of wealth and other means of enjoyment, till, at last, their subjects are seized by a desire for Christianity and a gust of avarice blows out the faith in their hearts. They finally resolve to apostatise and are persuaded to it by the baseness of their hearts. And, when they turn renegades, they say that they are seeking after truth.
Now, the real basis of this misdirected religious activity lies in the fact that the majority of people in this age are inclined towards materialism and have abandoned the fear of God and have ceased to love Him. Such men, when they see that the missionaries hold the keys of worldly success, incline towards them with all their heart. And it is thus that thousands of people have daily been bidding farewell to light and are entering the dark folds of Christianity. At such a critical time mere arguments of reason, apart from the manifestation of supernatural signs, could be of little avail, because what these men really propose is material comfort and their motive is full of guile. At such a juncture the only thing that could restore their faith was the heavenly sign. For years their 'ulama [clerics] had tried to rouse them, but they slept on unconcerned, and preachers called to them but they held back and arguments of reasons did not benefit them, nor the authority of traditions, and they increased in hard-heartedness and transgressions. They had abandoned the standards of fairness and justice. The reason was that their hearts were blinded and their reason was befogged and their passions were uncontrolled and thus they succumbed to the temptations of the world. The veil grew thicker; so seeing they saw not and hearing they heard not. For such distemper, the only remedy was that a glory should descend from heaven and signs should be manifested in quick succession, because faith had vanished and scepticism had increased and brought men to the verge of despair. The major portion of mankind had given themselves up wholly to the thought of the world and were mad after it and were altogether indifferent to matters of faith and religion. In the case of the Musalmans (Muslims), there had arisen a twofold danger -- the danger of conversion to Christianity and the danger of a total loss of faith. The majority of Musalmans, as I have already observed, had little of faith left in them and the fire of sin had consumed whatever of virtue there was in them. This is what led them to apostasy. For, when God found them addicted to sin and full of hypocrisy like the hunter, in punishment He suffered them to fall prey to those who were the protagonists of evil. This is the secret of the increasing number of apostates and of those who adopt the Cross in preference to the true God. To such men no sermon could do any good, nor the advice of any admonisher, and they were not likely to desist unless some manifest sign came to them, or some clear miracles were shown to them. It was for this reason that God raised a messenger and gave him the name "Messiah" and sent him to manifest the glory of Islam. This was done at a time when the abomination had reached its height and people were turning renegades in troops and the wolves were abroad and the dogs had raised a howl and many a book had been written full of the foulest abuse, and the forces of evil, both horse and foot, had fallen upon Islam, and a shaking was upon the earth, and errors had multiplied and injustice had obtained universal predominance. (It is a Divine rule that whenever iniquities prevail in the world, God undertakes to accomplish a revival of faith. In accordance with this rule, He has now manifested His glory to me so that I may infuse a new life into the dead form of the faith. He made me Messiah and Mahdi and furnished me with the accoutrements of true guidance. He instructed me to be gentle of tongue, and to eschew harshness and fierceness of temper. This breaking of the Cross of which we find mention in the Holy Traditions is to be understood metaphorically. It does not imply any actual fighting or any tangible religious war or any literal splintering of the Cross. To understand the words in that sense would be a mistake. The words really signify a refutation of Christianity by arguments and overthrowing of the power of the Cross by incontestable proof. And I have been commanded to accomplish this refutation and overthrow by gentle and peaceful methods and not to return evil for evil except when some person should disclaim the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be on him) and insult him or exceed all bounds in vituperation. It is not, therefore, for me to abuse the Christians generally, nor to disparage them, nor to defame them. In using such expressions I have in view only such persons who directly or indirectly insult the Holy Prophet (peace be on him). As for the missionaries who do not abuse the Holy Prophet, I respect them, and all such men who are free from the taint of this foul habit I regard with honour and address them with proper respect. In none of my writings there will be found a word disparaging to these worthy people. My method is merely to return to the vituperators the words of their own mouth as an antidote to their falsehoods.) God had promised that He would send at such a time a Messiah to break the power of the Cross and to fulfil all that He had promised to do, and God never breaks His word and never fails to accomplish whatever He promises to do. It was, therefore, in fulfilment of His promises that He sent His Messiah to break the Cross, for the Great One, when He makes a promise, fails not to see to its accomplishment. The dishonouring of promises is a quality of the liar and can therefore never be attributed to the Great Source of Truth. He is Holy. He is the Light of the heavens and the earth. Falsehood and breach of promise can never be attributed to Him like to any of His creatures. His Majesty is incompatible with the attribute of lying. You should therefore mark His promise and also mark how extensive has grown the activities of the liars, and how the hope of their diminution is now all but gone, how, daily, their camps are being pitched more firm by ropes and how, daily, the thread of their fortune has been proving longer and stronger and how a multitude of Musalmans [Muslims] has already joined their ranks and filled our country with renegades.
What worse disaster could overtake the Musalmans [Muslims] exceeding this in pain? These men gave the lie to Islam and no amount of admonition availed them nor dissuaded them from this course. As it is, we had expected to win over the Christian world to our fold and now a part of our own has been lost to us and are after seducing us to their error. They have divided sons from their fathers, friends from friends, mothers from their children and matrons from all they once held dear. Consider then well whether it is not yet time that sore-stricken Islam should be granted help to break the Cross or that the Divine promise should not be fulfilled even now when Islam has been bruised under the heel of Christianity. (I have already explained what is meant by "the breaking of the Cross." The reader should keep that meaning in mind and know that the usual meaning current among the 'ulama [clerics] is incorrect.) Also, consider whether the need for rescuing Islam did not require that a reformer, armed with signs and arguments, should be raised at the beginning of the century to demolish the fabric raised by the partisans of the Cross and to establish the superiority of Islam over all other faiths. O brethren! Each of you, stand apart and ponder over the matter seriously and fairly and do not take up the attitude of adversaries. Do your hearts bear it out that when misfortunes have reached such a head and the world has grown narrow upon Muslims and disasters have multiplied and a trembling has fallen upon their hearts and made them restless, that, in spite of all these calamities, no Divine succour should come from heaven and the Divine promise should remain unredeemed and the beginning of the century should pass away like the cloud which is dry of rain and bring forth no reformer or leader and there should be no stirring of the Divine solicitude for Islam although dangers should envelop her like mists? Can such a contingency be calmly contemplated or does it find countenance in the Holy Books? Is not the present juncture a time of misfortunes and trials and a fit moment for Divine intervention and judgement? Is it not high time for the justification of Islam and the repudiation of charges levelled against it? Or, are all these discords veritably designed by God, or is it a fate which the Merciful One is resolved not to alter? Certainly not; for long since were the glad tidings given to us and the same found place in the Holy Books. It is both foolish and recalcitrant to be indifferent to those tidings and not to take note of the signs and indications. Is it not a fact that the ascendancy of the Cross and the universal prevalence of its cult are the preliminary signs of the coming of the Messiah? The subject is indeed one regarding which there is perfect consensus of opinion among the orthodox Muslims and there is not a single individual among them who holds an opposite view. Nor can human reason or human nature admit that the destined signs should be fulfilled with such clearness and prominence, and deceit and hypocrisy should obtain such prevalence, and this state of things should continue for such a long time and still the Promised Messiah should linger behind and fail to make his appearance, in spite of the fact that his expected advent at the beginning of this century is a matter on which there is perfect unanimity in Islam. Now a fifth of the century has already gone by and the expected advent of the Reformer has been delayed up to the utmost stretch of endurance and the moment has arrived when God is to take pity upon the weak ones and alleviate their suffering and rescue them out of their graves. And long have men waited in expectation of the Messiah and been ground under vicissitudes till their eyes have almost burst through looking for him. (It is a well-known fact that a mujaddid (reformer) comes to ease the prevailing distemper of the time and attends to the most serious of the existing vices. It is also admitted that of all the anti-Islamic movements of the present age, that of the Cross is the most serious. It has proved the ruin of many of both urban and rural populations. It was, therefore, incumbent upon the reformer of the present century to come with this special mission, viz., as the traditions put it "to break the Cross." Thus, he who would "break the Cross" is the Promised Messiah. Let, therefore, the wise consider this.) Then, O respected leaders of the people! May God have mercy upon you and grant you His light! Raise your eyes up once more and ponder well. Does there not stand the promise of God that He will raise the Promised Messiah at the time of the abomination of the Cross, when He will turn to the Muslims with mercy and grace and fulfil His favours upon them, and thus manifest the truth of His word? And, do you not see how the Christian missionaries have increased in their propaganda and how they have changed the aspect of the earth by their unwholesome presence; and how a long time has now elapsed over their machinations? Where, then, is gone the promise of the Most True Lord? Have you not seen thousands of Muslims turning renegades and forsaking their faith, and is not this the greatest possible calamity to the religion of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)?
Moreover, not content with merely disseminating their false doctrines, have their missionaries not abused the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be on him) and libelled his creed and slandered it and carried things to extremes? Are we to think that God granted them this opportunity to our disadvantage and denied us the same? Such unequal treatment will certainly be far from just. Do you still wait to see Islam altogether wiped out from the face of the earth and no trace of it or of its Founder (peace and blessings on him) left thereon and then expect the Promised Messiah to appear after Islam has completely disappeared and the religious order of the world has been upset? You have read in the Holy Book that such a final catastrophe shall never overtake Islam and the signs of power and majesty shall never completely desert it, and before such a crisis comes to pass, the Promised Messiah will appear at the beginning of the century and he will come destined as the arbiter and judge to remove all the differences among the Muslims and to unite all good people on one common platform. This reformer has been called by three names in the Holy Traditions -- the Hakam (arbiter), the Mahdi (guided one) and the Messiah (Christ). According to these traditions, the name Hakam signifies that the reformer will appear at a time when differences will arise among Muslims and it will be his duty to decide on these by a verdict which will be right and just. At that time there will be not one point of doctrine regarding which conflicting opinions will not be held. The Hakam (arbiter) will accept the right opinions and reject the wrong ones. As for the Mahdi, the Traditions tell us that he will not derive his learning from the "doctors" but will be taught directly by God as was the case with the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). And regarding the name Messiah, it has been narrated that he will not make use of arms in the propagation of the faith, but that his sole reliance will be upon the Divine grace with which he will be anointed and his weapon will consist of supplications and prayers before God. (As for the significance of the name Messiah, it should be borne in mind that according to the Holy Traditions there are to be two Messiahs. One is the False Messiah who is to appear in the latter age and the other the True Messiah who will also appear at the same time. The person who will work by foul methods and will possess all the profanation of the world by unworthy means and will have recourse to subterfuges, deceits and pretexts and will assist the spread of evil by his deceptions is the False Messiah or the Anti-Christ. But the one who will place his sole reliance in all his works upon God and, without depending upon intermediate causes, will put his trust in prayers, and from the instruments will turn his eyes to their provider till his faith will attain the highest summit of heaven, is the True Messiah, whose object would be to further the cause of truth and to rescue the drowning ones. The name Messiah is common to both of these persons, one of whom will hail from heaven and the other will arise from the earth.)
It is, therefore, proper that you should render thanks to God that the said personage has appeared in your time and in your country. It is he who now speaks these words to you. These are the days when the grace of God is descending from heaven and signs are being manifested and the banished faith is returning to its home, and gems are being freely scattered from the mine of Divine knowledge. Now is the time when a trembling has fallen upon the unbelievers and joy has filled the eyes of the God-fearing with tears. Now is the day for the awakening of the sleeping ones and of joy for the watchful. This is the time for either acceptance or rejection. The faces of the accepted ones will today shine with joy and be bright, and those of the rejected ones will look dark and gloomy. And whoever will accept the true Messenger will, in fact, accept anew the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be on him) and will have found the object of his search. But whoever will turn away and reject the Messenger will virtually be disobeying the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be on him), unmindful of the event. These are not my words but the emphatic declaration of God. My advent has indeed proved a test of true piety and devotion. The recognition of my truth will be granted only to those whose hearts have been changed and made upright. But the hearts of the majority of the 'ulama of this country are dead. God has withdrawn from them His spiritual light and understanding. The majority of them call me an infidel and they know not to whom they are giving that name. They turn away their faces from the truth and would not accept it. They see the signs of God and yet would not be guided. They abuse me and strive to compass my discomfiture and concert plans for my destruction. They jeer at my followers and give us bad names. But before long the unjust shall know their proper destination.
Know then, my worthy readers, that for many years revelation has been coming to me which I have been commanded to publish to the public, that the true Messiah regarding whom the promise was given to the Muslims that he would come at the time of the predominance of the Cross, is no other than my humble self, who has been raised at the beginning of this century of the Muslim era, and has been commissioned by God to condemn the partisans of the Cross and to refute their exaggerations by the most apt arguments and to leave to the unbelievers no loophole of escape. The Messiah is to furnish the believers hitherto bankrupt of arguments a fresh supply of evidence, and to bear glad tidings those who seek the pleasure of God and love the Last of the Prophets. May the blessings of God and His angels and of all good men be perpetually showered upon him.
Proof in Support of
I was well aware that the 'ulama would reject my claim and make me the butt of their attacks and would say: This man has broken our unanimity and flouted the general consensus of opinion. But I was not afraid of them nor would conceal any part of what had been revealed to me. For what greater sin could there be than to hide the truth for fear of men? I did not, however, accept the situation without the clearest evidence and express Divine command. Nor was it possible for me to disobey it. My coming was not like the advent of an unexpected guest who arrives suddenly in the night. Rather, it was like the appearance of the Holy Prophet who arose glorious like the moon in the holy land of Makkah. I bore credentials of my truth which those who had eyes could easily see. I was accompanied by signs which reflecting minds might clearly discern. The age by its condition had borne witness that the time was ripe for the advent of the Messiah; for the Cross was in the ascendant and errors had multiplied and the exponents of Christianity by their industry and organisation had demoralised the people. (I have very often made references to the unscrupulous practices of the missionaries and do not feel sure what effect such references will produce upon the minds of men. It should, therefore, be understood that it is never my intention that evil should be met by evil. The Musalmaans [Muslims] ought to bear with patience the excesses of the missionaries and return their evil by goodness, because God has commanded us to be patient and to bear with fortitude the excesses of the people of the Book. Accordingly, the man who refuses to show forbearance proves himself virtually devoid of faith. It thus becomes your duty to exercise forbearance and to shun conflict. When they abuse you, you must not abuse them in return. Rather, you should pray for them. You should also bear in mind the benefits you derive from the British rule and forgive so that you may be forgiven.) They had abased the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be on him) and disturbed the peace.
Yet, if, notwithstanding these arguments, one should still fail to discern the need for a God-sent Reformer who should break the Cross and show signs and uphold the cause of the true Faith now left so destitute or who, in judging my case should still be left a prey to doubts and misgivings and be unable to perceive the truth of my claim and to endorse the same and feel that he stands in need of additional signs and still clearer proof and arguments in order to remove his doubts, for such I am always ready with my sympathy and am prepared to run to his help with the alacrity of one who hears the cry of a thirsty brother. I shall presently assuage his thirst with the cooling draught of cogent proof and shall satisfy him with the limpid water of my exposition. The only piece of advice I would offer him in all sincerity of heart is that he must not stir in this matter, but with perfect honesty of purpose and should in his enquiries observe the regards of piety and politeness, and not transgress the bounds of decency and good manners. Because, a person who sets himself in antagonism to the exponent of truth or to one who enjoys intimate relation with, and is specially assisted by God, is like the hunter who enters a forest to hunt its king but omits to make necessary preparations and carry the required weapons. To hunt the king of the forest is a difficult job even for a large party of hunters. How much more difficult then it is to overcome the champion of God, who is the master of illimitable power. Who is so rash as to oppose Him save one who is unfortunate and blind? The man who fabricates a lie concerning God is the most wretched creature on earth. And, similarly, one who rejects the righteous one is an associate of the devil. And certain it is that signs have been shown by me and proof has been adduced, but still I notice that the majority of the 'ulama of this country are reluctant to admit the truth which once they had denied. It is indeed a habit with them that when they once commit an error or a wrong they find it extremely difficult to return to truth or to retrace their steps. Pity upon them that they fear not God although they know that His eyes are upon them watching their doings. They see the signs of God and still behave as if they never saw them. Every year they are visited by calamities but they still remain unrepentant. God's arguments have been brought home to them but still they are without fear.
I, therefore, propose to narrate here some of the signs which have been manifested by God for the removing of doubts and hope that these will prove useful to men who are prepared to accept the truth.
Signs of the
A second sign which I have been granted is my extraordinary command of the Arabic language. This is a sign for the wise. The fact is that to begin with, except for an elementary acquaintance with Arabic, I had no greater proficiency in that tongue. This furnished the 'ulama with a handle to attack and to discredit me. They began to criticise and to find fault with my knowledge of Arabic in order to belittle me and my Movement in the eyes of the masses. They spread the report that I was not acquainted with even the elementary rules of Arabic grammar and did not possess even a grain of that gold. I, therefore, prayed to God that He might grant me proficiency in this subject and might make me without an equal in the mastery of the idioms and rhetoric of the language. I urged my plaint with the greatest humility and meekness. I fell down before the Lord and moaned and persisted in my prayer with the greatest steadfastness, sincerity and perseverance. Then was my prayer accepted and the boon I had prayed for was granted to me and access was given to me to all the beauties and niceties of the Arabic language and literature, so that I wrote several books in Arabic, unique in style and diction. (The information has come down to us from an unbroken succession of Traditions and records that the Promised Messiah and Mahdi will unite in his character the spirit of Jesus and the traits of Muhammad, some characteristics of both being blended in him with a sweet internal harmony. The spirituality of both these teachers will permeate his life and will be the fire of his being. In fact, both of them will be manifested in him as in a common counterpart, and they will be the reality underlying his exterior. Now, one of the distinctive characteristics of Muhammad was his eloquence as we may see from the Holy Quran. Accordingly, the Promised Messiah, by virtue of being his counterpart, was also granted the same sign, so that he might not be entirely destitute of any of the characteristics of the Holy Prophet, for to be so destitute was not compatible with the quality of a counterpart. The Promised Messiah was, therefore, gifted with the fresh ripe fruits of the blessed tree of prophethood and his individuality was entirely covered by its shadow. Such indeed is the privilege of all perfect followers of Islam. Similarly, he inherited also the excellence of Jesus (may peace be upon him and our Holy Prophet). Now, since the individuality of the Promised Messiah was submerged in the other two spirits above-mentioned and was lost and obliterated in them, and manifested their qualities, it happened that the names of these two personalities came to be applied to him and his own name was lost and forgotten. Only the names of the victors remained. Thus, it happened that he came to bear in heaven the names of these two blessed personages. This is a secret which God has disclosed to my heart and which my reason has been persuaded to accept. But the forms in which the Messianic stories are current among the Musalmans [Muslims] and which find apparent countenance in some of the reported Sayings of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) are in the nature of the language of vision. These have come down from the Holy Prophet and have been misconstrued by several interpreters who have understood them literally and fallen into error. But now the real truth has been disclosed and for the seekers of truth the right path has been laid open.) These I presented to the learned men of the country and challenged them saying "O linguists and men of letters! You deemed me illiterate and ignorant and verily I was so before God was pleased to help me. But now He has helped me and out of His special grace and favour has Himself done my tutoring and I have become a master of literature and one without an equal in that field. Accordingly, I have written several works adorned with the wealth of rhetoric and eloquence. They will be a sign of my truth for all men of understanding and discernment and in this there is an argument against you from God. If then you are still disposed to doubt my truth and my proficiency in Arabic and to question my power of exposition and expression and to disbelieve my claim and to consider me an impostor, then you, too, should produce some work of equal merit if you are right. And if you are in the right as you deem you are, then surely God will manifest your superiority and assure you the victory and no harm will come to you. And when you have done this, your critics will cease to find fault with you and your opponents will be stopped from blaming you and men will be convinced of your truth and honesty. And if individually you consider yourselves unequal to meet the challenge by reason of the inadequacy of your knowledge and intelligence, then you may rise and summon to your aid all those who are well-known among you as writers and speakers or possess a reputation for proficiency in literature. The proposed method of decision will bring honour of the true claimant and disgrace to the false one, and disgrace and humiliation are the inevitable lot of the impostors. And if you have faith then fear your God.
But the 'ulama neither produced the like of my writings nor desisted from denying me; and shame and fear and helplessness and bewilderment became manifest in their faces and cowardice and flight became their constant habit. They forgot all their boastings and had not a word to utter. And many repented, but many sealed the truth of the words of the Holy Prophet (peace and, blessings be on him). The fact also should be borne in mind that this sign was derived from the spiritual power of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be on him) and that it all happened according to the command of God. For those are foolish people who have remarked that this challenge is similar to the challenge of the Holy Quran and therefore bespeaks a lack of respect and faith. Such criticism can be uttered only by one who is a stranger to the true nature of spiritual life and is a victim of the blindness of ignorance. I have already said that the signs shown by the followers are the reflections which always accompany the miracles of the Prophet and they serve to extend the scope of the Prophet's mission. The Holy Quran and the Holy Prophet's utterances tell us the same tale and support the same views; and they are misguided who deny the statement. But the eyes of the common people fail to discern the truth. The higher facts of religion are a sealed book to them. They, therefore, deem that in the perfection of the followers is implied a derogation of the dignity of the Prophet, whereas the truth, as men of wisdom and discernment know, is quite the reverse.
The Lunar and the
Solar Eclipses Destined to occur at the Appearance of the
"Dar Qutni reports to have heard from Imam Muhammad Baqir the following statement: "Our Mahdi shall be accompanied by two signs the like of which have not happened since the creation of the heaven and the earth, namely, that in a certain month of Ramadan there will be an eclipse of the moon on the first of the three nights usual for such eclipses and in the same month in the second of the three days assigned for the solar eclipse there will occur an eclipse of the sun."
The same report is found in Baihaqa and compilers of Hadith. The author of the Risala Hashriyya has even remarked that these eclipses will happen in the month of Ramadan and after their occurrence the Mahdi will be recognised in Makkah. One of these pious narrators has also observed that the Mahdi will be recognised only after numerous divine signs have been disclosed by Heaven and that in the beginning of his mission he will be denied and rejected by the people who will take him to be a deceiver and impostor and pronounce against him the fatwa (proclamation) of heresy and apostasy and that the same objections will be raised against him as were raised against the Holy Prophet; but in the end his acceptance will gain prevalence in the earth and no two believers will be found who will not remember him with admiration and praise. The fact also should be borne in mind that the Holy Quran makes mention of this sign of the double eclipse as an indication of the near approach of the last day as you may read in the sacred verse, And when the eye shall be dazzled, and when the moon shall be eclipsed and the sun and the moon shall be united (in the eclipse). Nor, must it be supposed that the sign indicated here is one among the events of the Judgement day because the eclipses referred to in the verse depend for their occurrence upon the existence of this earth. They are the result of certain definite and well-known circumstances and occur at fixed times and stated periods. In the case of the eclipses, the circumstances are such that after they have ceased, the sun and the moon will return to their former condition. On the other hand, the phenomena which will be manifested on the last day are such as will come to pass only after the universe has been completely upset. The circumstances which will bring them to pass can arise only after the earth, and also its denizens, have ceased to exist. In short, the eclipses depend for their occurrence upon the existing order of our system, and from the beginning of the universe form a part of its phenomena. It, therefore, follows that the lunar and solar eclipses mentioned in the Holy Quran are only the harbingers of the last day and not the sign of the last day having already set in. All these questions have been fully dealt with by me in my work, The Nur al-Haq. Several other important matters have been related in that book in connection with these signs. These I wish to reproduce here in order to add to the weight of this argument.
I had stated in that book, The Nur al-Haq, that those people who, after witnessing the sign of the eclipses would not still believe in my truth nor prefer religion to the world, would be visited with punishment. Accordingly, it came to pass that after the occurrence of those eclipses a plague was sent to the heedless people of this country and thousands of them were carried away by the epidemic. The disease caught the miscreants as in a fire. They fell prey to it in towns and villages. The fire has not yet been quenched and is still hovering over their heads. And all this came to pass as was foretold previous to the event in successive Divine revelations. In this is a sign for the God-fearing. Further, I had said in the same book that after the occurrence of this sign of the eclipses, God would lend His help to the righteous, that their number would increase, and their affairs would prosper and that God would manifest more signs and spread the knowledge of His truth among mankind. God, out of His mercy and grace, has fulfilled all these prophecies. He has helped the believers to overcome opposition and, in accordance with His promise, increased the number of my followers. One of these signs I proceed to describe below and I take the opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to God for His great mercy. Men gifted with observing eyes will not fail to discern the Divine sign in these incidents.
The Prophecy of the
Death of Lekh Ram Fulfilled:
At that time, he was nearly thirty years of age or perhaps a little less so far as could be judged from his appearance. He came to me and asked me to show those Divine signs to him and said that he would not leave the village until he had seen some of them or until I had confessed my inability. He demanded that some sign should be shown to him before his departure. He was altogether an ignorant man. He began to importune me, and blind as he was of spiritual vision, pressed his demand with continued persistency as he was a mere body devoid of the life of wisdom. He had decided in his mind that I was an impostor. This view was impressed upon him by his companions and it obscured his judgement. He came to me on a certain day, and urged that he must be shown a sign. He arrogantly looked at me and said that he would not leave the village till I had shown him a sign or confessed my imposture. His words wounded the hearts of the men present in the assembly. I advised him to be patient and to abate his excitement. Then I told him that Divine signs were not of the class of things which one finds scattered about one's feet and might display off-hand. They belong to God and are manifested whenever He thinks fit. It is not, therefore, right to be restive like a wild bull; he should avoid the attitude of opposition. The man who seeks for signs should observe patience, because the signs come from God and their manifestation depends upon the humble supplications of the devotee. He might stay with me for one year. This would be better for him, so that God may manifest to him some signs and grant him certainty of faith and mental satisfaction.
Such, I told Lekh Ram, was my confident hope. If, therefore, he was a sincere seeker, he ought to wait with patience till that time. My admonitions, however, failed to make any impression upon him. He did not desist from vituperations. Then I said to him: "Well, if you cannot wait and have made up your mind to withdraw and not to accept my suggestion, then certainly you are at liberty to depart and await what revelations might come to me in future." He, therefore, withdrew in a rage without uttering a single word. He now adopted a new role. In every assembly he began to mention my name with ridicule and scorn wishing thus to undo my work and to humiliate me in the eyes of the world. For the same purpose, he often took recourse to falsehood and fabrications and managed thus to hasten his doom. He departed more and more from the path of rectitude and invented many a falsehood and spread slander and uttered abuse against the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be on him). He made it his business to decry the Holy Quran. In his writings, he cast off all restraints and abused all great men -- the shining orbs of the spiritual firmament. He made it his style to find fault with the beloved ones of God. Then it was that God decided to burst his bubble and to expose to mankind his inner rottenness and to make him the subject of one of His mighty signs. Accordingly, when the time for the fulfilment of God's word and the manifestation of His sign drew nigh, Lekh Ram addressed to me a letter enquiring where was my promised sign and whether my imposture had not by that time been fully demonstrated. And, as usually is the case with mean persons, he addressed me in bitter language and considering me his adversary abused me.
Now the men who had incited Lekh Ram to make the demand for signs were no other than his own co-religionists who lived in this village of Qadian. They related to him many a false report concerning me which emboldened him and dispelled the awe which had at first fallen upon him. They continuously repeated to him that I was an impostor and a cheat and warned him not to fall prey to my spell. And I am sure it was these men of Qadian who were responsible for his ultimate death, because it was they who egged him on to put himself in opposition to me, and encouraged him with the most solemn assurances. By such action these men, far from proving to be his friends, actually proved to be his worst enemies, for their false assurances served to harden his heart. He believed their tales and began a virulent opposition. As a matter of fact, Lekh Ram was at first disposed to spend some time in my company in the hope of witnessing a sign, but these people interposed and induced him to change his mind, for they feared that Lekh Ram might be influenced by the effect of my association. They assured him that it could serve no useful purpose to live in my community, since they already knew everything about me. Lekh Ram lived in Qadian for nearly a month and fed upon their false reports. These at last fired his mind with an unholy flame and covered it with pitch darkness. He left Qadian with the fire of enmity ablaze in his heart and began to demand signs. He had in reality no belief in the possibility of a divine sign but pressed for it only to win a name among his co-religionists. It happened that when he had left Qadian I had a dream. I saw that I was standing in an open field and had in my hand a spear which was bright and shining. I saw Lekh Ram as one dead and lying at my feet. I moved his head from side to side with the spear. At this time someone called out saying, "He is gone and will not again return to Qadian." It actually happened that he never again returned to Qadian till the news came of his death. This happened in the following way:
After his departure, he began to press for signs and indulged in vituperations and vilification. I then turned to God and prayed for some puissant sign. Thereupon, God informed me that Lekh Ram would be killed within the next six years by some dire visitation and the day of his death would be one contiguous to the Eid festival. I informed Lekh Ram of this revelation. But it only served to increase his vilification. He wrote to me saying that he, too, had received revelation that within the next three years I should be carried away by cholera. He gave publicity to this prophecy and sent me copies of the notice announcing the same. He also repeated the prophecy in several assemblies. I then wrote to him saying that the whole matter now rested with God, that if he was true in his prophecy, God would manifest his truth, whereas if I had spoken the truth, God, out of His mercy and grace, would demonstrate my veracity, inasmuch as God is always the Friend of the righteous and truthful and never helps the liars. Now, the time assigned in Lekh Ram's prophecy passed off in peace and safety and not the least harm came to me. But when the time came for the fulfilment of my Lord's promise and entered the fifth year, it happened (as the reports of the Arya Samaj show) that a certain stranger came to Lekh Ram and related that he had been a Hindu of the same caste as Lekh Ram, that he had been persuaded by some people to become a Musalman [Muslim], but that now he was sorry for the change and had come to him to be taken back into the old religion of his fathers and to renounce Islam. He flattered Lekh Ram, praising him for having proved to be the instrument of rousing many a sleeping one from the slumber of ignorance, and added that his fame had spread abroad and it had been acknowledged on all hands that he was a past master in the refutation of Islam and that it was for this reason that he had come from such a distance in order to have the grace of his interview. He further added that men had tried to turn him from his purpose but without success, that there were a few outstanding questions regarding which he was still in doubt and when, as he hoped, Lekh Ram would solve them for him, and forgive his faults, he would re-enter the old faith of his fathers. Upon this, Lekh Ram closely scrutinised the man. But God hid from him the secret design of the stranger. Lekh Ram believed his story and took him to be a fellow casteman. He received him warmly and soon became intimate with him. He showed him every mark of sympathy and regard, and carried the news among his people that the newcomer had embraced Islam and now wanted to revert to Hinduism. The stranger, meanwhile, never mentioned the name of his birthplace, so that nobody knew whence he had come. His movements in the city were also secret so that no one knew where he resided. This went on till the fatal day arrived. On that day, in an unsuspected hour, the stranger came to Lekh Ram in the guise of a friend and waited till all those present had departed and then made a swift and sudden attack upon Lekh Ram, who was completely off-guard. He plunged a dagger into Lekh Ram's body, which broke his ribs and penetrated into his entrails. The day was the day immediately following the Eid, as was foretold in the Divine revelation. And when he had finished his job, the murderer fled from the house and, like an angel, melted into the air and no one found any trace of him. God had covered him in the fold of mystery. Meanwhile, the victim lay mangled in his wound and while breath still remained, he requested that he might be taken to the hospital. He was accordingly carried there, but the doctor was not to be found. There, in his agony, he cried "O my fate! How unlucky that even the doctor is absent."
After some time, the doctor came and rendered what help he could, but it was of no use. The doctor said there was little chance of life and when midnight passed Lekh Ram quaffed the cup of death. I have been told that his eyes were full of tears for he remembered the Divine prophecy and its fulfilment. His death overwhelmed his people with grief, for in him they lost one of their stoutest protagonists. They made a search from house to house and from town to town looking for the murderer, or to secure information about him. And when they despaired of finding any trace of him, people said it was a Divine mystery; and their grief increased and difficulties multiplied and they became like mad men. In the extremity of their grief they ceased to distinguish between right and wrong and their pride was humbled because they felt that the argument had been proved against them and they now owed a heavy debt to the Musalmans [Muslims]. They looked upon his death as a public calamity and a national misfortune and it was rumoured that they had resolved to kill some leading Muslims to avenge his death and to appease their wrath. But God protected the Musalmans [Muslims] and frustrated their designs and cast awe upon their hearts and created differences among them, so they remained unsuccessful and gradually ceased their praying. And the Lord brings to pass whatever He wishes.
They now adopted another plan. They moved the authorities for a search of my house. But in this plan also God disappointed them and covered them with shame. When all their efforts proved unavailing and their idols failed to come to their help, they took counsel among themselves and decided to re-establish friendly relations with the Musalmans [Muslims]. The wise among them said that it was advisable to be at peace with the Muslims because things had gone against them. They were also afraid of the plague. They, accordingly, made peace with the Musalmans [Muslims] and in this was a sign from God, the Lord of Power, Who hears the prayer of the weak and never disappoints those who rely on Him, and Who never casts away one who seeks His protection. All glory is due to Him! A consideration of His signs fills the heart with wonder and the eyes with tears. Who, then, will be so fortunate as to reap benefit from this narration? This sign, in fact, is one of the miracles attributable to the credit of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be on him) and is living evidence of the genuineness of his prophethood. O men, ponder on the sign, and may God have mercy upon you.
In addition to the signs recounted above, there are many others which at present I omit owing to the fear of unduly increasing the bulk of this narrative. And for those who fear God, the above is more than enough. For the signs which distinguish any Divine messenger are the same as in the case of the prophets. There is, therefore, nothing new in my denial. Every prophet of God has been scoffed at and ridiculed in his time, and although their opponents had seen many a Divine sign manifested in them and witnessed many an instance of special Divine assistance, they never ceased to call upon them to show signs. Therefore, it is the wise part of every good man to eschew the ways of the unbelievers and to follow the examples of the believers. And as for those who turn away, they will not harm God in the least and God cares not the least for them.
O men! Why do you reject the signs of God which you have seen with your own eyes? Is there no one righteous among you? You scoffed at God's Messenger and would have killed him with your swords had not God cast the fear of the rulers upon your hearts. Had there not been present the existing government, you would certainly have attacked the Messenger of God. Now the truth has been revealed and the excuses you have offered have proved to be lame. You have never cared seriously to ponder. So I leave the matter with God Who decides everything.