Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of
LANGUAGES and BRANCH WEBSITES: *
* THE LAHORE AHMADIYYA MOVEMENT:
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of
* OTHER LANGUAGES and BRANCH WEBSITES:
* Click to:
Links present on
To these traditions in the hands of the ahl as-Sunna, if we add the traditions relied upon by other sects of Islam, for example the Shiah, this further shows the strength and weight of repetition. And when hundreds of books of the Sufis are studied, they give the same testimony. After this, when we study external sources, i.e. Christian works, the same news is also found there, and along with this the verdict of Jesus concerning the descent of Elijah from heaven makes it appear from the Gospels that such prophecies are not meant literally. This report of the coming of the Promised Messiah is found to prevail so widely in every age that it would be the height of ignorance to reject its repetitive currency. I say truly that if all the books of Islam through which this prophecy has been progressively published, are arranged according to century and put together, they would not number less than a thousand. It is, however, difficult to make a person comprehend this who is ignorant of Islamic literature. In fact, people raising such objections are so ignorant, due to their misfortune, that they cannot discern that a certain matter is supported by strong and weighty evidence. So the objector, having heard from somewhere that most reports of Hadith are of the isolated type [ahad], has promptly concluded that all the accepted Islamic sources, except the Holy Quran, are unfounded and dubious, not being conclusive or certain at all.
One should consider this, that the entire sequence of the life of our leader and master: how he lived in Makka before the Call, the year in which he began to preach, the order in which the early converts joined Islam, the various kinds of persecution to which the disbelievers of Makka subjected him for ten years, the causes and the extent of the early battles, the battles in which the Holy Prophet himself took part, the lands to which the rule of Islam had extended by the time he died, whether he sent epistles to the neighbouring monarches inviting them to Islam, and if so, what was the result; then the conquests of Islam in the time of Abu Bakr after the Holy Prophets death, the difficulties faced, the lands conquered during the time of Umar -- all these events are known only through the traditions of the Holy Prophet and the sayings of his Companions. If Hadith is of no value, it would not only be difficult, but well-nigh impossible, to ascertain the happenings of those times. In that case, the opponents would have the opportunity to forge every sort of falsehood about the events of the time of the Holy Prophet and his Companions, and we would be giving them a great chance to extend their attacks. We would have to concede that the events and life stories discovered from Hadith are all valueless and unreal, so much so that even the names of the Companions cannot be accepted with certainty.
If the opponents (of Islam) were to object that the Holy Quran does not teach the mode of prayer, and that the form which the Muslims have adopted must be rejected because Hadith reports cannot be relied upon, how would we answer this objection if we ourselves held the position that Hadith is worthless? We would have to concede the objection. In that case, the funeral prayers of Islam would also be baseless because the Quran nowhere speaks of a prayer having no bowing down or prostration. So consider and see what remains of Islam by rejecting Hadith.
Hence, if Hadith reports are considered from this principle, it would be a serious error to apply the term ahad [isolated] to the greater part of them, which is supported by prevailing practice. In fact, this is a grevious mistake which has driven the rationalists among the present day Muslims very far from the truth of Islam. They think that all the practices, customs, acts of worship, and biographical and historical details of Islam, in support of which Hadith is cited, are based on just a few reports. This is a clear error of theirs; nay, the system of practices which was established by our Holy Prophet himself spread among millions of people, so much so that it would have suffered no loss even if the compilers of Hadith had not existed in the world at all. Everyone has to acknowledge the fact that this holy Teacher and holy Messenger, may peace and the blessings of God be upon him, did not keep his teachings confined so as to instruct only a couple of people and keep the rest in the dark. Had that been the case, Islam would have become so distorted that no compiler of Hadith could have put it right.
Although the pioneers of Hadith recorded thousands of reports regarding religious teachings, the question is: which was the report that had not been acted upon before they came to write it down, and of the contents of which the world was unaware? If there were any teaching or event or belief the foundation of which was laid by the pioneering compilers of Hadith on the basis of some report, there being no trace of it in the prevalent practice followed by millions of people, nor any mention of it in the Holy Quran, then there is no doubt that such a report, which was even discovered one and a half centuries later, is far below the level of certainty, and whatever might be said as to its unsatisfactory nature would be quite fitting. However, such reports really have nothing much to do with the teachings and history of Islam, and if you think about it, the compilers of Hadith have made little mention of reports of which no trace is to be found in prevalent practice. Hence it is not true, as some ignorant people believe, that the world came to learn of hundreds of essential teachings of the faith, even prayer and fasting, from the Hadith reports compiled by Imam Bukhari, Muslim and others. Were people living without practising the faith for 150 years? Did they not pray, give Zakat, or perform the Hajj? Were they ignorant of the creed of Islam which is recorded in Hadith? Most certainly not. He who thinks so, shows astonishing stupidity.
Then, again, since Islam was flourishing as much before the age of Bukhari, Muslim and other compilers of Hadith, as after their writings, how insolent and foolish it is to hold the view, in an authoritative fashion, that only through the compilation of traditions in the second century (of the Muslim era) did that part of Islam develop and prosper which in the present day is known as Hadith. And it is really to be regretted that, to say nothing of the critics, even the adherents of our religion -- the ignorant ones -- suffer from this misconception. They believe that, after a long time, merely on the basis of the compiled reports of Hadith were people made to accept many beliefs of Islam, having been completely unaware of these teachings prior to the recording of these reports. But the truth, which is quite evident, is that if the compilers of Hadith have put people under a debt of gratitude, it is only to the extent that as regards those matters which, from the very beginning, had been accepted by all in the form of prevailing practice, they investigated and searched for the authorities of their reporting and showed that the beliefs and the practices followed by the Muslims in their times were not novelties that had become mixed up with Islam just then, but were precisely the teachings that the Holy Prophet had imparted to his Companions by word and deed.
It is regrettable that, by misunderstanding the actual fact, people of little wisdom have made a major error due to which they look upon Hadith with much detestation. Although it is true that that part of Hadith which is not to be found expressed in prevailing beliefs and practices, nor supported by the Holy Quran, cannot be accepted with the fullest certainty, yet the other part, which is manifested in practice and which millions of people from the beginning have guarded by their practical conduct, and upon which they have been established, cannot be called dubious or uncertain. The continuing practice of an entire world, openly known to be traceable back from son to father, father to grandfather, and grandfather to great grandfather, the signs of which could be followed all the way back to the original source, cannot leave the slightest doubt, and there remains no option but to consider such continuing tradition as of the highest degree of authenticity. Then, considering that the compilers of Hadith established another system alongside the prevailing practice, tracing the authority for this practice back to the Holy Prophet Muhammad through channels of truthful and reliable reporters, to still raise criticism is really the work of those who have no share of the light of faith or human reason.
Given that one aspect of this prophecy has been fulfilled in a clear, explicit and evident manner, what doubt can there be in the truth of the other part? It is acknowledged by every rational person that if, for instance, a hadith is of the isolated type, and moreover is not part of practice and custom, but consists of a prophecy which is fulfilled at the due time, wholly or partly, then no doubt will remain regarding the authenticity of the hadith. For example, there is no doubt that the hadith about "fire in the Hijaz" to be found in Bukhari and Muslim is an isolated report, but that prophecy was fulfilled after about 600 years in an exact manner, which is admitted even by the Europeans, and it came true at a time when centuries had passed since the compilation and publication of those books. Can we now hold the view that because such reports are isolated they cannot be accepted as authentic with certainty? When the truth of these has become manifest, such a view would be stupidity of the worst and most detestable type.
Similarly, consider that the prophecy about the Promised Messiah also says, in some places directly and in other places indirectly, that he will come in such an age when the power and rule of the Christians will have spread to the whole of the earth, the railway train will have been introduced, most of the earth will be under cultivation, people will be much involved in agriculture so that bulls will become very costly, there will be an abundance of canals on the earth, and it would be an age of peace in worldly terms. Accordingly, we see that this prophecy has been fulfilled in our time, for the star of Christian rule has reached such an ascendance that other governments and states amount to nothing in comparison, and we have also seen the railway train, the canals, and the spread of agriculture. Now consider if this prophecy does not contain that knowledge of the unseen which is beyond the ken of man. Could the decline of Islam be known to anyone at a time when its sword was falling upon the disbelievers like lightening? Can any human be such a master of the unseen as to disclose the news of a new form of transport which did not exist before? Raise your eyes, look, and ponder deeply, whether this prediction is not one of those great prophecies the signifiance and manifestation of which is only encompassed by Divine knowledge, and which cannot be confused with the work of man and the weak plans of mortals.
In the same age, the Christians will spread throughout the world and dominate other peoples. Love of true faith will grow cold in the hearts. Deadly evil winds will blow, putting Islam in a constant series of unending dangers. Then will disasters come, and calamities multiply. Muslims will lose goodness from their hearts, and it would be better for a man to live in isolation, surviving on goats milk, than to be associated with the Muslim community.
Then it is said that when you see this state of affairs, you should leave all these parties and bite the roots of a tree till the end of your life. In the same connection is then given the news of the advent of the Promised Messiah, and it is prophesied that at his hands will the Christian religion come to an end. It is said that he will "break the cross", not that he will crush their government. This was to refer to the fact that the Promised Messiahs dominion shall be spiritual, and he will have nothing to do with the governments of the world. On the contrary, he will fight with the power of his blessings, and enter the field of battle with his superhuman signs as weapons, till he breaks the splendour and greatness of the cross and exposes the unholy and profane doctrines of Christianity. For, his light, shining like a sword, will fall like lightening upon the darkness of unbelief till seekers-after-truth come to realise that the Living God is with Islam.
All these prophecies in Hadith are flowing like a river, and are so inter-connected that to deny one implies the denial of another, and to accept one implies the acceptance of another. Then again, who can cast doubt on such constant, orderly, definite and coherent prophecies, other than someone who is more deranged than a lunatic? Can a sensible person suggest even for a moment that these thousands of prophecies disclosing extraordinary matters are merely the fabrication of man? The fact is that these orderly, systematic, and grand prophecies cannot be denied, for their denial amounts to an enormous revolution and changing a whole world.
It is to be remembered that regarding the same age, in connection with the Promised Messiah, the Holy Prophet has also given the news, recorded in Sahiih Muslim in the words: la-yutra-kanna 'l-qilasu fa-la yusa alai-ha. That is to say, in the time of the Promised Messiah, travel by camel will cease, so that no one will ride them at fast pace. This is a reference to the railway train, by the introduction of which no need will remain to make camels run. The camel has been spoken of because it is the largest animal used for transport by the Arabs, upon which they could travel with all the contents of their small homes. And the mention of the largest includes smaller things by implication. Thus the meaning was that in that age a form of transport would emerge which would surpass even the camel, and as you see after the invention of the railway all the work which camels used to do is now being done by trains. Could a prophecy be clearer and more manifest than this! The Holy Quran has also given news of this age, as it says:
i.e. the latter days are those "when camels will be abandoned" (81:4). This, too, is a clear reference to the railway train, and so the hadith given above and this verse contain the same prophecy. And as the hadith plainly makes this statement in connection with the Promised Messiah, it must certainly be concluded from this that this verse is also speaking of the time of the Promised Messiah and making an implicit reference to him. However, despite these clear verses which are shining like the sun, people have doubts about these prophecies. Fair-minded persons can judge whether it is anything but folly to doubt those prophecies the hidden matters disclosed by which have been seen to be fulfilled in front of ones eyes.
I am sure that what I have written here regarding the prophecy about the Promised Messiah contained in Hadith is sufficient to satisfy the person who, after finding the truth, would not wish to continue unjust opposition. I have not quoted here the actual texts of the Hadith reports, nor given a summary of them all, for these are well-known and on the lips of the masses, so much so that even young school children in villages are familiar with them. Had I quoted all the Hadith reports regarding this issue in this brief booklet, I could have written ten volumes and still not be finished. However, I draw the attention of the readers to studying the original Sihah Sitta [Note 4] or their translations carefully to see the great frequency and intensity of expression with which these traditions occur.
Translator's Note 2: The reference is to the overthrow of the Sasanid (Persian) and the Byzantine (Roman) empires by Muslim conquest; Chosroes and Caesar being, respectively, titles of the heads of these empires. The hadith report referred to may be found in Mishkat al-Masabih , Book of Fitan, chapter II, section I. [Go to text]
Translator's Note 3: The 13th century Hijra began about the year 1786 C.E. [Go to text]
Translator's Note 4: Sihah Sitta means the six reliable books, and is the term applied to the six collections of Hadith recognised as authentic by the Sunni Muslims. These are as follows: Bukhari , Muslim, Tirmidhi , Nasa'i , Abu Dawud, and Ibn Maja. [Go to text]