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"But when the promise of my Lord comes to pass, He will crumble it, and the promise of my Lord is ever true. And on that day We shall let some of them surge against others and the trumpet will be blown, then We shall gather them all together." (18:98-99)
The meaning is that when the promise of God approaches, He will crumble the wall which was restraining Gog and Magog, and the promise of God is true. And on that day, during the rule of Gog and Magog, God shall let various sects surge against each other like waves. In other words, every sect will strive to make its religion and faith overcome others. Just as an ocean wave seeks to subdue under itself everything that it falls upon, in like manner shall each of the various sects fall upon the others to overwhelm them, and none shall do less than its utmost. Every sect will strive to make its religion supreme. They will be engaged in these struggles when "the trumpet" [sur] will be blown by Divine command, and God will unite all factions upon one faith. [See author's footnote]
The blowing of the trumpet here indicates that at that time, in accordance with the Divine law, a reformer will appear from God, coming with heavenly support. Life (spiritual) shall be breathed into his heart, and that life shall penetrate into others. It is to be remembered that the word sur always points to great revolutions, so that when God moves His creation from one state [sura] to another, the time of that change of form is described as "the blowing of the trumpet [sur]". And the mystics, in their visions, can perceive even a physical existence for this trumpet. These are the wonders of a realm the secrets of which are not disclosed to anyone in the world but those who have severed all worldly connections.
This fact is clearly proved from the Holy Quran and the Hadith, as God says:
That is: "We sent down this Book and this Prophet in the Lailat al-Qadr, [Note 2] and thou knowest that the Lailat al-Qadr is better than a thousand months. In it the angels and the holy spirit descend with the permission of their Lord. And it is a time of peace in every affair till the dawn break" (ch. 97).
Now although according to Muslim belief the Lailat al-Qadr is the name of a blessed night, nonetheless the fact which God has intimated to me is that, besides this meaning which is accepted by the whole nation, the Lailat al-Qadr also stands for the age when darkness spreads throughout the world, and it is pitch black all around. Then that darkness by its nature requires that a light descend from heaven. So Almighty God at that time sends His luminous angels and the holy spirit down to the earth -- this descent being in the manner appropriate to their nature as angels. Then the holy spirit forms a connection with the mujaddid and reformer who, having been honoured with the robe of Divine election, has been appointed to invite mankind to the truth. And the angels form a connection with all those people who are of a good, righteous and worthy nature, attract them towards the ways of good, and grant them help to do good. Then the paths of peace and good fortune open out in the world, and this continues to develop till religion reaches the fulness that has been destined for it.
Now one ought to note that in this chapter God has stated in clear, unequivocal terms that when a reformer comes from Him, heart-shaking angels necessarily descend to earth. Their descent produces a movement and urge in the hearts towards goodness and the path of truth. To think that such movement and agitation comes about by itself, without the appearance of a reformer, is contrary to the Holy Word of God and His ancient law of nature. Such views are expressed only by those who are ignorant of Divine secrets and who follow their own baseless conjectures. Nay, these are the peculiar signs of the coming of a Divine reformer, and are like dust particles for this sun. However, this fact cannot be discerned by just anyone. The clouded vision of the worldly-minded man cannot see this light. In his view, religious truths are a laughing matter and Divine knowledge a folly.
The meaning is that the last days will come "when the earth is shaken with terrible shaking" (v. 1) in accordance with its condition, i.e. a great change will come over the people of the world, and they will give themselves up to selfishness and worldliness. It is then said: "the earth will bring forth all its burdens" (v. 2), i.e. worldly knowledge, worldly cunning, worldly scheming, and worldly qualities to be found in human nature will all become manifest. Also, the earth upon which people live will display all its special characteristics. Many of its properties will be discovered by physical science and agricultural technology. Mines will be dug, and cultivation will become extensive. In brief, the earth will become productive, and implements of all kinds will be invented, so much so that "man will say: what is the matter?" (v. 3), why are new branches of knowledge, new kinds of technology, and new inventions coming into being? Then the earth, i.e. the hearts of men, will tell their story: that all these new things which are happening are not from them, but it is a type of revelation from God (vv. 4,5), for it is not possible that man by his own efforts be able to produce such wonderful knowledge.
It must be remembered that the inclusion, with these verses, of other passages that refer to the Day of Judgment is really according to the law of God that has been mentioned earlier. However, there is no doubt that the true and primary meaning of these verses is that which we have explained above. A strong and conclusive proof of this is that if these verses are interpreted literally, it leads to great difficulties. In other words, if we take the meaning to be that at some time, despite the world being populated, there will be such severe earthquakes as to turn the surface of the earth upside down, then this is utterly impossible and cannot happen. It is clearly written in the verse: Man will say, what has befallen the earth? If, then, it were really true that the earth would have been flattened by severe tremors, where would man be to ask the earth this question? He would have been annihilated by the earthquakes in the first place. The laws of physical science cannot be denied in any way. To take meanings which are absolutely false and opposed to actual evidence, amounts to making Islam a laughing stock, and giving the opponents a chance for criticism. Therefore, the true and correct meanings are those which we have explained here.
And they claimed Divinity as follows: they interfered in Gods works beyond all limits. They desired that no secret should be left hidden in the heavens and the earth which they do not fathom, and they resolved to bring all the works of God under their control, wanting all the powers of Divinity to come in their hands so that, if possible, even the setting and the rising of the sun should be in their control, the falling of rain should depend on their actions, and nothing should remain impossible for them. What else is a claim to Divinity! It is exactly this: that one interferes in the works and special powers of God, and is eager even to take His place. Those people who raise objections against the Hadith reports referring to the Promised Messiah and to the Dajjal should consider, at this point, that if these prophecieshad not been from God, but were the work of man, it would not have been possible for them to be fulfilled so clearly and beautifully. Was it ever imagined by anyone that these Christian people would, in some age, strive so hard to make man into god, and in their philosophical enquiries leave no special position for God? Look! the "ass" of Dajjal whose ears are spoken of as being seventy measures apart, corresponds in most ways exactly to the railway train. And as it is recorded in the Holy Quran and Hadith that in this age transport by camel will cease, so we see that rail travel has defeated all such forms of transport, there being little need left for them now, and even that will probably not remain after a short while. Similarly, we have seen with our own eyes that the scholars and philosophers of this (Christian) nation have really produced such trouble in religious matters that a parallel cannot be found from the time of Adam till this day. They undoubtedly interfered in prophethood and in Divinity. What greater proof can there be of the authenticity of these Hadith reports than the fact that the prophecy contained in them has been fulfilled? These verses of the Holy Quran, viz., "When the earth is shaken with a terrible shaking", really refer to this age of the Dajjal, and anyone having the least sense can understand this. The verse is clearly explaining the extent to which this nation will make progress in worldly knowledge.
(ch. 84, verses 3-4)
"When the earth is stretched" (v. 3), i.e. the earth will be cleared and the population will increase; "and it casts out hat is in it and becomes empty" (v. 4), i.e. all the earthly potentialities will be manifested and displayed, as has been explained just now.
("And when the camels are abandoned." -- 81:4)
The meaning is that at that time the camel will become redundant and of no value. "Ishar means a pregnant camel, which is of great value in the eyes of the Arabs. It is obvious that this verse has nothing to do with the Day of Judgment, for the Doomsday is not the time when a male and a female camel could mate, and a pregnancy ensue. This is, in fact, a reference to the invention of the railway train, the camel being mentioned as pregnant to provide a strong argument that an event of this world is referred to, so that ones mind does not go towards the Hereafter in the least.
"When the books are spread widely and propagated" (81:10), i.e. means of publication and distribution of books will come into existence. This refers to the printing press and the postal service, prophesying that these will be commonplace in the latter days.
"When souls are joined with one another" (81:7). This refers to the relations between nations and countries. The meaning is that in the latter days, due to the opening up of travel routes and the setting up of postal and telegraph services, inter-relations among mankind will increase. A people will meet another people, links and trade connections will extend far and wide, and ties of friendship between distant nations will increase.
"When the wild ones are gathered together with people" (81:5). This means that primitive nations will turn towards civilisation and acquire human values and discernment. The lowest people will gain the honour of material progress and dignity. Due to the spread of physical knowledge and technology, no difference will remain between the high and the low. In fact, the lower people will become dominant so much so as to have the means of wealth and the reins of government in their hands. The meaning of this verse is similar to the contents of a certain hadith.
"When rivers are cut up" (82:3), i.e. there will be an extensive network of canals on the earth, and cultivation will be on a large scale.
"When the mountains are blown away" (77:10). Routes will be constructed through mountains for pedestrians and vehicles, and for trains. [Note 4]
"When the sun is rolled up" (81:1), i.e. an intense darkness of ignorance and sinfulness will envelope the earth.
"When the stars become murky" (81:2), i.e. the religious leaders will no longer possess the light of sincerity.
"When the stars are swept off" (82:2), i.e. the truly spiritual divines will pass away. It is certainly not possible that the stars could physically fall on the earth and yet people continue to live upon it.
It should be recalled that the Gospels too contain such a prophecy for the advent of the Promised Messiah, to the effect that he shall come at a time when stars would have fallen to the earth, and the sun and the moon would have lost their light. [Note 5] To take these prophecies literally is so much against reason that no sensible person would suggest that while the sun would in reality lose its light, and all the stars would fall to the earth, the globe would continue to be inhabited and the Promised Messiah would come in those conditions.
Again it is said:
"When the heaven bursts" (84:1), and similarly:
("When the heaven is cleft asunder." -- 82:1)
The Gospels too contain such prophecies about the coming of the Promised Messiah. However, these verses do not mean that at that time the sky will burst or lose its powers. The meaning is that just as a thing which is broken becomes useless, so will the heaven cease to function, so to speak. Blessings will not descend from heaven, and consequently the world will be filled with darkness and obscurity.
"And when the messengers [rusul] are brought at their appointed time" (77:11). This is, in fact, a reference to the coming of the Promised Messiah, and it means to say that he will come exactly on time. It should be remembered that in the word of God the term rusul is applied to the singular as well as to one who is not a messenger. [Note 6] I have explained many times that most verses of the Holy Quran comprise many aspects, as it is established from Hadith that the Holy Quran has outward meanings as well as deeper ones. So if the messengers of God are to gather as witnesses on the Day of Judgment, [Note 7] we believe in and confirm this as well. However, having described here the bad signs of the latter days and then stating at the end that at that time messengers will be brought up at the appointed juncture, the context clearly bears witness that after the height of darkness God will send a messenger of His to judge between the various nations. And since it has been proved from the Holy Quran that that darkness will be caused by Christians, the man appointed by God will undoubtedly be sent to invite them to Islam and to judge concerning them. So it is due to this connection that he has been given the name Jesus, because he has been sent for the Christians as was Jesus, peace be upon him, sent for them. And in the verse "and when the messengers are brought at their appointed time", al [the] refers to the external i.e. the mujaddid whose advent has been promised by the Holy Prophet will be sent at the time of the darkness spread by Christians.
1: The dominance of Gog and Magog, i.e. the absolute sway of the Russians and the English.
There are, in fact, two kinds of blowing [nafkh]: one is that of error, and the other is that of guidance, as indicated in the following verse: "And the trumpet is blown, so all those in the heavens and the earth will swoon, except such as God please; then it will be blown again, and they shall arise, awaiting" (39:69). This verse has a dual aspect, applying to the Day of Judgment and also to the present world, as do verses such as "Know that God gives life to the earth after its death" (57:17) and "He sends down water from the clouds, according to their measure, then water courses flow" (13:17). As applying to this world, this verse (39:69) means that in the last days there shall come two periods of time: a period of error when everyone, whether of a worldly or heavenly nature, shall become indifferent and negligent, save him whom God protects. And then shall come the second period, of guidance, when suddenly people will "stand up and see", i.e. the indifference will depart and true knowledge will enter the hearts, and the wicked will become warned of their evil, though they may not accept the true faith.
At this point, Hazrat Mirza has made a distinction between a mujaddid and a messenger of God ( rasul ); the latter being an actual prophet and messenger of God in Islamic terminology, while the former is classed as a non-prophet in the same terminology. However, the word rasul, when taken in its literal Arabic meaning of messenger, can also be applied to a mujaddid. [Go to text]
Translator's Note 2: Lailat al-Qadr, literally meaning The Night of Majesty, refers to a spiritually auspicious night, in the month of Ramadaan, which marks the start of the revelation of the Quran to the Holy Prophet Muhammad. It is generally considered to be one of the odd nights in the last third of that month. [Go to text]
Translator's Note 3: The Sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad regarding the calamities to befall the Muslims in the latter days make mention of Dajjal, depicted as a man epitomising the forces of evil, who shall possess miraculous powers of control over nature, by means of which he will have mastery of the earth and its inhabitants. He is also identified with the Anti-christ. Dajjal is prophesied as subjugating the Muslims politically, and weakening their faith by spreading doubt. Regarding that time of the utter helplessness of the Muslims, it is prophesied that the Messiah will then arise to champion the cause of Islam and defeat Dajjal.
In about 1890, under Divine inspiration, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad disclosed to the Muslim world that Dajjal was not some monstrous superhuman individual, but was none other than the materialistic forces of modern Western civilisation. They fulfilled all the signs given in the prophecies. For details, see other works of Hazrat Mirza such as Izalah Auham. This explanation of the nature of Dajjal has since come to be accepted by other notable Muslims, including some opponents of the Ahmadiyya Movement such as Sayyid Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi (see his English book Faith versus Materialism ). [Go to text]
Translator's Note 4: Since the days when these words were written, the prophecies of the Quran and Hadith discussed here have found more and more spectacular fulfilment. [Go to text]
Translator's Note 5: See Matthew ch. 24 verse 29. [Go to text]
Translator's Note 6: Rusul is the plural of rasul, the meaning of the latter being messenger. In one place, it is said in the Quran: "O ye messengers (rusul), eat of the good things and do good deeds" (23:51). Here the plural form is said by some, as indicated by the context, to refer to the one prophet Jesus. And in the renowned, classical dictionary of the Quran, the Mufradat of Raghib, it is recorded that messengers here means the Holy Prophet Muhammad and his chief Companions. Thus, as Hazrat Mirza says here, the plural word rusul has been used in the Quran to indicate the singular as well as to refer to those who are not prophets. So the application of this word to the Promised Messiah is not in terms of its meaning as prophet, but in terms of its recognised, broad usage as referring to a non-prophet. [Go to text]
Translator's Note 7: This is the generally understood meaning of this verse. [Go to text]
Translator's Note 8: Dabbat al-ard or the creature from (or of) the earth' is another of the signs of the last days and is mentioned in the Quran as follows: "And when the word comes to pass against them, We shall bring forth for them a creature from the earth that will speak to them, because people did not believe in Our messages" (27:82). Further details of this creature given in Hadith reports are mostly conflicting and unreliable. However, the name itself conveys the idea of clinging to low, earthly desires', and the description that it will speak to people indicates that this creature typifies a group of human beings. [Go to text]