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Books Section > Phenomenon of Revelation by Maulana Aftab-ud-Din Ahmad Sahib [Based on Hazrat Mirza Sahib's Writings]


Phenomenon of Revelation:
by Maulana Aftab-ud-Din Ahmad Sahib
Based on Hazrat Mirza Sahib's Writings


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Revelation is the soul of religion. Although attempts have been made to raise a structure of religion without any foundation in revelation, all real religious movements in the world are rooted in the idea of revelation. Again, the conception of revelation has, more often than not, received its colour from the Pagan idea of incarnation, i.e., God's appearance in human form. Yet the true conception of revelation has always been the word-revelation. God reveals Himself, according to the purest conception, to a selected person or persons through spoken words, to convey His will with regard to a particular nation or humanity at large. This word --revelation, again, is not a physical experience but a spiritual one. The recipient of the revelation does not hear the sound of the revealed words through his physical senses but through his corresponding spiritual sense. As such the experience carries with it an illumination which is not only intellectual but emotional as well. It effects a change not only in the thinking process of the man, but also in his feelings and fundamental emotions. Then there are types of revelations. Some of them are of a personal nature or have a bearing only on a limited circle of people and space of time, while there are others that have their application on a wider circle and range of time. Revelations can also be divided into those that form a code of social conduct and those that do not. The former are of greater importance than the latter, seeing that social behaviour is regulated by laws that have always eluded the grasp of human reasoning faculty and yet collective life is an essential need of human existence. That being so, the revelation that brings law for a community has rightly been regarded as the major revelation. This major revelation is a thing of rare occurrence as its need is not so frequent and yet all human codes have directly or indirectly been based on such revelation. Nations and societies that do not apparently care much for revealed principles of social conduct are still swayed by these principles. A case in instance is the system of law prevailing in Christian countries not excluding that of Russia. In these nations the law of Moses imperceptibly acts as the foundation of law. This kind of revelation is justifiably claimed by the Muslims to have attained its perfection and reached finality in the law of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). So far no improvement worth the name has been suggested from any quarter on the rules laid down by this new dispensation called the Qur'an. Hence, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has been rightly regarded as the last of the Prophets, because his law has brought to perfection all those rules of life which can form the foundation of universal human civilisation and social order. But, although the chain of Prophets has come to a termination, the need for revelation has never been regarded by Muslims themselves to have ceased to exist. Minor revelations which are called Mubashsharat, i.e., words assuring their recipient of high spiritual attainments and consisting of communications of a general nature, have been claimed by successive generations of saints in the history of Islam. The necessity for them has its own place. It maintains among other things major revelations in their grandeur and dignity. It is evident that the continuity of the phenomenon of revelation imparts a force and a strength to the laws revealed, apart from other needs that it satisfies. If one is convinced that a particular rule of conduct has its source in the all-comprehending wisdom of God and not in the obscure perception of human intellect, the zeal for its observance becomes intense. It is remarkable that the tradition of Islam is surcharged with the experience of these minor revelations whereas the traditions of other religions are equally devoid of this particular feature. This fact lends additional support to the claim advanced on behalf of the Quranic law that it has been revealed for all times to come.

What is particularly striking in this connection is that in no religion other than Islam can one find any kind of authoritative description of the nature of this extremely important experience and the manner of its coming. Read through the whole literature of religion including that for which a direct revelation is claimed and you will not find any manner of description of this great phenomenon. The earliest description of it is to be found only in the Qur'an which describes it in all its different stages.

II

Revelation, we are told in the Holy Qur'an (cxl. 51), is granted to man in three forms:

"And it is not for any mortal that God should speak to him except by inspiring or from behind a veil or by sending a messenger and revealing by His permission what He pleases."

The first of these modes is called wahy, which in reality is a Prophet or a righteous man speaking under the influence of the holy spirit. It is an idea coming to the mind as if by a flash of lightning and is not the result of meditation. The second mode is described as speaking from behind a veil. This refers to sights seen or words heard from unseen sources when asleep or in a state of trance. These include true dreams or spiritual visions. The third mode is that in which the messenger or the angel is sent to the recipient of the revelation and the divine message is delivered in words, and this is what is termed as the major revelation. In the terminology of Islam, this last form of revelation is called Wahy Matluww or revelation that is recited. The Holy Qur'an entirely consists of this kind of revelation. This may be called the prophetical revelation or revelation par excellence, while the other and minor forms of revelation are common both to the Prophets as well as other believers, particularly the saints or the Awliya. Among the peculiarities of the faith of Islam is that its Scripture explains the various stages and the various facts connected with its own revelation. For example, it mentions the person to whom it was revealed:

"And who believe in what has been revealed to Muhammad and it is the very truth from their Lord" (xlvii. 2).

It mentions the name of the month and the time when this revelation started:

"The month of Ramadan is that in which the Qur'an was revealed" (ii. 185); "We revealed it on a blessed night" (xliv. 3).

It mentions the language of the revelation:

"Surely we have made it an Arabic Qur'an that you may understand" (xliii. 3).

It mentions the plane on which the experience takes place:

"And surely this is a revelation from the Lord of the worlds, the faithful spirit has come down with it upon thy heart, that thou mayest be of the warners in plain Arabic language" (ii. 192-95).

So this is on a spiritual plane that the phenomenon takes place. But the Quran's is not the only account with which we are left to satisfy our curiosity on this point.

The Holy Prophet (pbuh) takes us farther in the field and gives us his personal reactions to the phenomenon in details. We learn it on the authority of Lady 'Aisha that the first revelation that was granted to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.

"The first revelation that was granted to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah upon him, was the true dream in a state of sleep, so that he never dreamed a dream but the truth of it shone forth like the dawn of the morning. Then solitude became dear to him and he used to seclude himself in the cave of Hira, and therein he devoted himself to Divine worship for several nights before he came back to his family and took provisions for his (retirement), (then he would return to Khadija and take more provisions for a similar) period, until the truth came to him while he was in the cave of Hira: so the angel (Gabriel) came to him and said: 'Read'. He (the Prophet) said, 'I said I am not one who can read.' And he continued. "Then he (the angel) took hold of me and he pressed me so hard that I could not bear it any more, then he let me go and said "Read" I said, "I am not one who can read." Then he took hold of me and pressed me a second time so hard that I could not bear it any more, then he let me go again and said, "Read." I said, "I am not one who can read." (The Prophet) continued: "Then he took hold of me and pressed me hard for a third time, and then he let me go and said, 'Read in the name of thy Lord, Who created – He created man from a clot – Read and thy Lord is most Honourable."

"The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, returned with this (message) while his heart trembled and he entered upon Khadija, daughter of Khuwailid and said, 'Wrap me up, wrap me, up, and she wrapped him up until the awe left him. Then he said to Khadija while he related to her what had happened, 'I fear for myself'. (Bukhari 1:1).

Thus the Holy Prophet's first experience of higher revelation was while he was alone in the cave of Hira. Before this he had from time to time seen visions which were only forecasts of actual future events, but when the Angel came to him with this higher message he found himself quite exhausted. And even after he reached home the effect of exhaustion was still upon him and he had to lie down on his bed covered over before he could relate what he had experienced. It was an equally hard experience when the second message came to him after an interval of some months. And even afterwards the effect of this experience used to be so great on his body that in the words of his wife, 'Aisha':

"Revelation coming down upon him in the severest cold, and when that condition was over, perspiration ran down his forehead" (Bukhari 1:1).

Another Companion (rta) relates that he was once sitting with the leg of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) upon his leg when revelation came to him and he felt as if his leg would be crushed under the weight of the Prophets leg. Another report says that when revelation came to the Holy Prophet (pbuh) he appeared to be as if he were in distress and turned pale in the face (Muslim). According to still another report, when revelation came to the Holy Prophet (pbuh) he would hang his head and his Companions (rta) did the same and when that condition was over, he would raise up his head. Still another report by Ibn 'Abbas (rta) has it that he:

"used to exert himself hard in receiving Divine revelation and would on this account move his lips. So Allah sent down: 'Do not move thy tongue with it to make haste with it. Surely on Us devolves the collecting of it and reciting of it' (lxxv. 16, 17). So after this when Gabriel came to him the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, would listen and when Gabriel departed the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, recited as he (Gabriel) recited it" (Bukhari 1:1).

But apart from these evidences which come from those who observed the Prophet (pbuh) at the time of these experiences, we have the Prophet's (pbuh) own evidence on this subject. In reply to a question asked by his wife 'Aisha (rta), he is reported by the same lady to have said:

"Sometimes it comes to me like the ringing of a bell and that is the hardest on me, then he (the angel) departs from me and I retain in memory from him what he says, and sometimes the angel comes to me in the likeness of a man and I retain in memory what he says" (Bukhari 1:1).

So the experience was, at times, of a purely auditory nature without any attending vision and sometimes it was attended with a vision, both spiritual phenomena, of the medium of revelation, i.e. the angel.

We hope we have outlived that age in the Western world when these supreme experiences used to be treated by fanatical people of that continent as symptoms of epileptic fits. With growing knowledge of facts and things of the world no sane man or woman in the West, we hope, would have the courage to assert now that the grand inspiring and enlightening verses of the Holy Qur'an, proclaiming facts and laws of life, of supreme importance to the existence and development of man, can be anything but revelations from a higher plane of existence than human. Nor is it difficult for the new generation of Europe, comparatively more advanced in knowledge than their fore-fathers, to see that the impact of the higher beings and higher planes of existence on the frail human mind must produce some kind of symptom on the physical body of the recipient of such great messages. Last but not the least is the consideration that the enormous moral changes which the recipients of these messages effect in the world with which they come into contact cannot proceed from one who has no higher experience to his credit than that of a physical malady. The time has indeed come when an intellectual man should be ashamed of believing in such miserable theories, particularly when he aligns himself, however superficially, with a religion that has always claimed for itself revealed source. Indeed, it has always struck us as something extremely surprising that while our Christian friends should claim revealed origin for their Scripture, they should have no idea of the phenomenon of revelation as such and should look askance at the only consistent believable account of this phenomenon which is to be found in the whole history of religion. I mean the accounts contained in the "traditions of Islam"! By "traditions of Islam" I mean, I should make it clear, not only the accounts of the phenomenon that are to be found in Qur'an and the Hadith, but also those recorded by numerous saints and savants of Islam who have appeared from time to time in the history of Islam on the basis of their own personal experience and have thus been the cause of an average Muslim's living faith in the face of this phenomenon. Because, although the major revelation that acts as a guidance for the socio-moral conduct of humanity, has reached its perfection and ripeness in the Holy Qur'an and needs no further addition and repetition, the minor revelation continues to be experienced by the gifted among the Muslims. This is the import of the following agreed saying of the Prophet (pbuh):

"Nothing remains of Prophethood excepting the gland tidings from Divine court."

As we have seen, a Prophet is a recipient both of major and minor revelations. With the revelation of the Qur'an the need for major revelations has ceased to exist, but the minor revelations continue to be received by the saints of Islam to keep alive the faith in the phenomenon as such. It is on account of such experiences that the spiritually enlightened personalities of Islam have been called "The successors of the Prophets" (Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Ibn Maja):

The "ulama" spoken of here are those learned in the spiritual knowledge and are not mere scholars of law and experts on the ritualistic aspect of Islam. It is these, therefore, that are real successors of the Prophets, because they have personal experience of the fact of revelation, the basis of all revealed dispensation and they are known as Awliya in Islam and their rank is termed Wilayat.

IV

To make the understanding of the tradition of Wilayat in Islam easy I leave out the period that intervenes between the founder of Islam and our present age and produce before the readers the evidence of a saint who died as late as 1908 and who has left a wealth of details about this phenomenon of revelation in his writings on the basis of his personal experience – I mean the great saint of Qadian, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the much misunderstood founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement. We choose him particularly because he appeared right in this twentieth century when scepticism and knowledge of physical sciences reaching giddy heights had almost thrown the spiritual traditions of humanity in the background and even well-meaning thinkers like Carlyle, with genuine spiritual urge, began to regard the appearance of prophets as a kind of relic of an age of superstition. We also choose him because if he claimed to be a recipient of minor revelations on the one hand, on the other he gave proof of extraordinary intellectual powers coupled with a masterly knowledge of human psychology, an accomplishment that could compel admiration even from the acutest of modern thinkers. Lastly, we choose him because he happens to be the most outstanding religious figure of the age, setting in motion a religious enthusiasm which is typical of the traditional religious movements both in purity of religious emotion and courage of conviction.

We reproduce his evidence on the subject word for word from different parts of his own writings in Urdu. Speaking of his personal reactions to these experiences he says:

"I swear by God of exalted glory that it is absolutely true that revelation coming from heaven falls on the heart of man in the same way as the rays of the sun on a wall. It is my everyday experience that when the time for Divine communication arrives I suddenly find myself in a state of complete mental detachment; then I become like a thing transformed and my feelings and my perceptions and my consciousness, although they are apparently there, yet at this particular moment I feel as if an overwhelmingly powerful being takes possession of my whole existence and I begin to feel that all the reins of my existence lie in His hands and that whatever is mine, no longer remains mine but becomes His. When I am in this state, the first thing that I experience is that God, the Exalted, presents before my view such thoughts of the mind as it is His will to cast the rays of His own word on. Then these thoughts appear to my view one after another in a strange way.

"And it so happens that when a thought occurs to the mind such as that so and so should recover from such and such an illness or should not – no sooner such a thought occurs to the mind than a piece of the word of God falls on it like a ray of light. And many a time with the shedding of such a light the whole body is convulsed. When this matter is over, another thought comes to the view. The moment this thought so appears, a piece of revelation likewise comes to fall on it in the same manner, just as an archer goes on shooting his arrows at the appearance of each game. At this particular moment I feel that this chain of thoughts comes out of the corresponding faculty of my nature and the word that falls on it from above descends from heaven. Although the poets and men of their type receive their inspirations as a result of their thoughts, yet to place the revelation under discussion in line with such inspirations is the height of disrespect, because these latter are the result of thinking and pondering and they make their appearance when the senses and consciousness of man are in tact and the experience is confined within the bounds of human experience. Whereas the revelation under discussion comes to man when he have been taken complete control of by God with his whole being and his consciousness and his contemplation have no manner of influence on his experience. At such a time as this one feels as if one's tongue is not one's own but some external mighty power is using it for its own purposes. And this state of affairs, part of which I have just described, will clearly demonstrate what of it belongs to the nature of man and what comes down from heaven" (Barakat-ad-Du'a p.22-23).

V

Speaking of the varieties of revelation and the manner of their appearance, Hazrat Mirza says:

"Among the several kinds of revelation, of which God the exalted has given me knowledge, one is this:

"When God wants to reveal any hidden fact to His servant, He causes some words to come out of the latter's tongue in a state of semi-consciousness, sometimes in a soft and sometimes in a hard manner. And the words that flow in a hard manner appear on the tongue with such an intensity that the state can be compared with that of the falling of hailstones on a hard piece of land or of a fast running horse striking its hoofs on the ground. There is a strange quickness and intensity and fearfulness associated with this kind of revelation which affects the entire physique of the man and it makes the tongue move automatically with such quickness and awe-inspiring voice that it seems as if it is not his own voice. The slight unconsciousness with which it is attended vanishes as soon as the revelation is over, but as long as the words of revelation are in the course of flowing, their recipient lies in a state of senselessness without any power of movement as if he were dead. This revelation comes to a man when God of bounty and mercy does not want to grant any particular prayer of his in view of some wisdom and expedience, or wants to defer its acceptance for some time, or wants to convey to him some other piece of news which, because of human weaknesses, in unpalatable to the mind of man for example, when a man wants to achieve something quickly which it is not destined in the wisdom of God or is destined with some delay. Such revelations from God as thus flow through the tongue of man in a hard and heavy manner have at times been experienced by me, a description of which will only make the discussion lengthy. I may, however, mention just a brief sentence which once came to me in this way.

"Some three years back I prayed that people might take kindly to the present book [Barahin-i-Ahmadiyyah – Translator]. In reply I received the following revelation in the hard manner I have just described:

'Not presently,' i.e.

"When this revelation came to me there were near me some ten or twenty Hindus and Muslims who are still living in Qadian and to whom I communicated this event. The indifference of people towards the book which was later experienced and which was quite in keeping with this revelation is a fact equally known to these witnesses.

"The second kind of revelation is that in which the words flow into the tongue with some softness. As for this type of revelation I may testify from my personal experience that when, after the first revelation to which a reference has just been made, some time had passed and various difficulties began to be experienced in my work through peoples' indifference to it and these difficulties assumed enormous proportion, one day about the time of sunset, God revealed to me the following words:

i.e., 'And shake towards yourself the trunk of this palm tree, it will drop you fresh ripe dates.'

"So I came to understand that it referred to a persuasive appeal in the matter that had been taken in hand and that it contained promise that money would be forthcoming for this part of the book as a result of this appeal. I circulated as usual this piece of news among many Hindus and Muslims and, on the very same day or perhaps the following day, by a happy coincidence Hafiz Hidayat 'Ali Khan Sahib, who was an Extra-Assistant Commissioner in this district in those days, happened to visit Qadian and this news was conveyed to him as well. I can very well remember that in that very week I informed Maulvi Abu Said Muhammad Husain also about this revelation. Anyway, after this revelation came to me, in obedience to the Commandment of God I exerted myself a little in the matter and this brought me help from Lahore, Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Malirkotla and some other places, to the extent and from quarters that God willed, for the printing of that part of the book which was in press!

"Another example of this revelation came to my experience during those very days. It was like this. It was morning time and a brief spell of trance came over me and the following words found expression through my tongue:

'Abdullah Khan Dera Ismail Khan.'

"Accordingly, some Hindu gentlemen who were present on the spot and who are still here in this town were told about this phenomenon. One of these Hindu gentlemen went to the local Post Office the same afternoon and brought a letter for me from a certain gentleman called 'Abdullah Khan and this was accompanied with some money.

"Another wonderful sign had made its appearance a few days before this particular incident. Briefly, it was like this. An Arya Samaj Hindu a resident of this town who was a student of Qadian school and was about the age of 20 or 22 years and who still lives in this town, had been a victim of tuberculosis [Note: This incident is about a hundred years old, when tuberculosis did not have a definite treatment.] and step by step his disease had reached the final stage. The symptoms showed that there was no hope of the patient's life. One day he came to me and expressed his hopelessness about his life and wept bitterly on that account. My heart melted at his helplessness and I prayed to God on his behalf. And as it was ordained that he should recover, no sooner had I prayed than the following words were revealed:

i.e. 'We said, O fire, be a comfort and peace to Abraham.' In other words, 'We said to the fire of fever: Be thou cooled and comfortable.' Accordingly, this Hindu youth and some other Hindus who are still living in this town were at once informed about this incident; and with complete reliance on God it was claimed that this Hindu young man was sure to recover from his illness and would never die of it. Thus even a week had not passed when this young man completely recovered from this fatal disease. Praise be unto God for this!

"The second kind of revelations to which I have given the name of perfect revelations on account of the abundance of their wonderfulness are experienced when God, the Exalted, wants to communicate to His servant any future or unknown event, either in response to a man's prayer or of His own accord. In such cases, the man suddenly falls into a state of unconsciousness that totally disconnects him from the world of matter. He loses his own existence altogether and continues to sink in this oblivion and unconsciousness in the manner of a man plunging headlong in water and goes down and down. In short, when the servant of God comes out of this state of absolute detachment from the world which closely resembles a man's plunge into water, he experiences within himself a kind of sound resounding in his consciousness. And when this sound subsides, he, all of a sudden, feels the presence therein of an appropriate, refined and sweet verbal communication. This immersion into a higher consciousness is so immensely wonderful in nature that its wonders cannot be expressed in human language. It is a state in which a whole ocean of Divine knowledge is laid open before man. Because in this state each time a man prays to God and God makes him experience this higher consciousness and spiritual immersion and further replies to every prayer of his in a refined and subtle revelation and also in response to every query of the man. He acquaints him with truths which it is beyond the power of man to communicate – all these facts add to the volume of the spiritual knowledge of man. Man's praying to God and God's replying to every such prayer in His majestic glory is an incident that almost amounts to man's seeing God in this very world and makes both the worlds appear the same to him without any difference left whatsoever. When a man asks his God at the time of need for a solution of some problem and on presenting his case receives a reply from the Divine court, in exactly the same way as he receives a reply from another man, and this Divine reply comes clothed in highly eloquent and refined expressions, and sometimes in such a language as is altogether alien and stage to him, and sometimes it communicates such unseen and unknown events as are beyond the ken of human knowledge, and sometimes it conveys the glad tidings of great Divine gifts and high spiritual positions, and at others it brings congratulations to the man on his nearness to God, and at still others it consists of prophecies about worldly blessings. When these refined and eloquent words which are above and beyond the power of man to produce, are received by the devotee, it gives him such an enjoyment and inner illumination that it can be truly appreciated by him alone who has an experience of this blessing. Such a man really recognises his God as any of us will recognise an intimate and old friend of his. And this kind of revelation is often received in connection with great affairs. These revelations sometimes contain words the meanings of which have to be found out from the dictionary. There are times when such revelations come to me in English or some such foreign language as is absolutely unknown to me. There are many instances of this kind of revelation with me.

"The third kind of revelation is that which falls softly and slowly on the heart of man. In other words, some words pass through the heart very quickly, not attended by those wonders which are characteristic of the second kind of revelation, described above, in all their entirety and perfection. What is more, it need neither be preceded by any mental detachment nor trance condition. Many a time this kind of revelation comes to a man in complete wakefulness and its recipient feels as if someone from the invisible world has breathed or thrown these words into his heart. The man concerned is more or less awake, although in a state of absorption and sometimes is completely awake, when suddenly he finds that a newly revealed word has found entrance into his heart. And sometimes it so happens that immediately on its entry into the heart of the man it begins to shine in its celestial brilliance, which makes the man aware that it is a communication from God. The recipient of such a revelation feels that this kind of revelation brings solace and comfort to the heart in the same manner as the air breathed in affords the heart and the organs concerned a physical relief and comfort. Such revelations also impart to the restless mind an abiding happiness and coolness. It is a very delicate secret hidden from common knowledge but one that men, equipped with spiritual knowledge whom the Real Giver has honoured with an experience of Divine secrets, are well aware of. This kind of revelation has also come within the experience of my humble self into the details of which it is not necessary for the present to go" (Barahin Ahmadiyya, Part 3).

Continuing the discussion on the varieties of revelation, Hazrat Mirza observes:-

"The fourth kind of revelation is that in which in the course of a true dream some event is revealed from God to man, or some angel assuming the form of man communicates to him some unknown event, or some writing appears on a piece of paper or stone or some such thing which reveals some unknown secrets or something of the kind.

"Thus I have myself related some of my own dreams of this kind to many enemies of Islam, even as they came to me, and their truth also became manifest to these very people. For instance, once I saw the last Prophet of God, Muhammad Mustafa, peace and blessings of God be upon him, in a dream. It was briefly like this. It was about the year 1864-1865 C.E., when I was still very young and was devoted to my studies. In that dream I was holding in my hand a religious book which appeared to have been compiled by my humble self. On seeing this book the Holy Prophet (pbuh) asked me in Arabic, "What name have you given to this book?" I submitted, 'I have named it, Qutbi.' The secret of this name uttered in dream was revealed to me when I finished writing the present advertised book, and it is that it is a book which like the Pole Star will prove unshakeable and of permanent value, so much so, that on the basis of its established value, I have announced a prize of Rs.10,000 to those who would write a refutation of it. To continue the story, the Holy Prophet (pbuh) took the book from me and the moment his holy hands touched the book it turned into a very beautiful fruit of an attractive colour and resembled a guava, but of the size of a water-melon. When the Holy Prophet (pbuh) tried to cut this fruit into pieces a huge quantity of honey came out of it that daubed the whole of his hand up to the wrist. Then a dead body that was lying outside the door was raised to life by the miracle of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and stood behind me, while I was standing in front of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) in the manner of a complainant standing before a judge, while the Holy Prophet (pbuh) was sitting on a chair like a mighty wrestler with great majesty and glory and the mien of a judge. To cut the long story short, the Holy Prophet (pbuh) gave me a piece of this fruit in order that I might pass it on to the man who had been revived, and the remaining pieces he put in the skirt of my shirt. That one piece which was meant for the revived man was given to him, and he ate it there and then. When he finished eating this piece, I found that the chair of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) had become raised very much higher from its previous position. And just as the sun scatters its rays, the holy forehead of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) began to emit an incessant current of light. This was an indication of a new life and prosperity for Islam. As I was beholding this light I woke up. Praise be unto God for this!

"It is a Divine inspiration which was narrated to about 200 men at the time, among whom more or less fifty persons were Hindus, and most of these latter are still alive and in good health. All these people know well that at that time there was no idea even of writing Barahin Ahmadiyya, nor had it entered my mind that any religious book of this kind should be written and a reward of Rs.10,000 should be announced to confirm its importance and truth. It is evident, however, now that the things suggested in the dream have more or less materialised. And the loftiness and brilliance of the Pole Star, as suggested in the name given to the book in the dream, has now been thrown as a challenge to the opponents by the announcement of a big reward, and this constitutes a great argument for them in support of Islam. As for the parts of the dream which have not yet been realised, these also must be expected by all to receive due fulfilment, because the word from heaven cannot pass unless it be fulfilled.

"Now I come to another such Divine inspiration. It is nearly twelve years now that a Hindu gentleman, who is a member of the Arya-Samaj of Qadian and is still alive and in sound health, was a stubborn denier of the miracles and prophecies of the last of the Prophets (peace and blessings of God be upon him). His hostility resembled in its intensity that of the Christian missionaries and he was of opinion that these reported prophecies were latter concoctions of the Muslims or, else, God did not reveal any future event on the Holy Prophet and that no sign of prophethood of this kind ever existed in him. But what a favour of God, of Exalted Glory, on His Prophet and how exalted the position of that sinless and sacred prophet that the light of his truthfulness is as bright today as it has ever been! Only a short while later it so happened that a certain relation of this Hindu gentleman became involved in some trouble and was sentenced to imprisonment together with another Hindu, and they jointly appealed to the Chief Court for a revision of the case. In this bewilderment and confusion the Arya gentleman one day said to me: 'I should regard it as a prophecy of the real type if today anyone can tell me what the ultimate end of this case of ours will be. 'I replied to him saying, 'The knowledge of the unseen is a reserved subject of God and that neither any astrologer nor any palmist nor any diviner nor any other man is aware of the hidden secrets of God. Of course, God Who is in full knowledge of every incident in the heavens and the earth, intimates to His perfected and Holy Prophets, of his own will and choice, some hidden secrets and that sometimes when He so likes He reveals some of these hidden secrets to such of the qualified followers of His true Prophet as are members of the Islamic brotherhood and as are, on account of their complete obedience to the Prophet, the successors of his spiritual knowledge and this by way of a sign for the truth of his religion. But as for other religious communities who are in the wrong, e.g., the Hindus and their Pundits, and the Christians and their clergy, none of these have any share in this blessing.' No sooner had I said this than this gentleman began to insist that if the followers of Islam had this superiority over the other religious communities, the present case afforded an opportunity for a demonstration of this superiority. However much I said in reply that it all depended on the choice of God and that man could not make things to order in such matters, this Arya gentleman refused to listen to my arguments. Thus, when I found that the man was an obstinate denier of the prophecies of our Holy Prophet (pbuh) and of the lofty position of the faith of Islam, my heart was enthused by God to feel that God should make this man ashamed and confounded in this very case. Thus, I prayed to God, 'Oh, my God the gracious! this man is an inexorable denier of the honour and loftiness of Thy Prophet and also of the signs and prophecies which Thou hast revealed to Thy Prophet and this man may be silenced by the revelation of the final result of this case beforehand and Thou hast power over everything. Thou canst do whatever Thou willest and nothing is hidden from Thy all-comprehending knowledge.' Then God Who is a supporter of His true religion of Islam and is jealous of the honour and the glory of His Prophet, revealed to me during the night in a dream the whole truth about the case and communicated to me that it was so destined that the file of the case would be returned to the lower court and that on a revision of the case in this latter court the term of imprisonment would be reduced to half, but the man in question would not be acquitted. And as for his companion he would be released after he had served his full term and he either would not be acquitted. When I woke up from this dream I thanked my God Who had saved me from being helpless before an opponent and on the same day I narrated this dream before a large gathering of people and communicated the news the same day to the Hindu gentleman concerned.

"Let me now narrate a third example of this true revelation.

"The name of Sardar Muhammad Hayat Khan may be known to you. He had been suspended from his service for a very long time under orders of the Government. Perhaps a year and a half had passed, or a little more time than this, when various kinds of difficulties and calamities in this state of suspension came in his way and the opinion of the Government appeared to be against him. In those very days I was told in a dream that he would be absolved of all charges and in the very state of dream I told him not be afraid and that God has power over everything and that He would deliver him from this trouble. Accordingly, this news was communicated to scores of Hindus and Arya Samajists and Muslims in those very days. And whoever was told about it was scarcely in a mood to believe it and some thought that it was highly improbable. And I have been told that during those very days someone conveyed this news to Muhammad Hayat Khan in Lahore. So praise be unto God that this glad tidings received literal fulfilment in the same manner as it was received. The witnesses of this dream and its fulfilment will number about sixty or seventy, if not more, and if the evidence of Muslims is not to be regarded as reliable nor that of Muhammad Hayat Khan, even then it should not be forgotten that some ten or twelve of these witnesses were Hindus and were members of the Arya Samaj, i.e., people who were staunch adherents of the Vedic religion and were deadly enemies of the Muslims. I had never been in correspondence with Sardar Muhammad Hayat Khan nor had I any personal acquaintance with him nor any social contact. I was myself wondering why in the days of his great difficulties his ultimate destiny should be revealed to me in this manner. The reason for it however, becomes manifest to me today and it is that this revelation also was vouchsafed to me so that it may be useful today in this service of religion in which God has engaged me. So praise unto God and again praise unto God."

Continuing the discussion on the fourth kind of revelation, Hazrat Mirza observes:

"Let me now narrate to you another true dream of mine. Nearly ten years ago I saw Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) in a dream, as if he and myself were eating together from the same plate and both of us were at home and loving towards one another as is possible only between two brothers from the same parents and between two old intimate and bosom friends. The dream continuing I further saw that at this very place where I am writing these lines, myself and Prophet Jesus and another very spiritually advanced Sayyid, a descendant of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), remained standing for a while, on the balcony in a very happy mood. And the Sayyid Sahib was holding a piece of paper in his hand on which were written the names of some important figures among the followers of Holy prophet (pbuh). And to each name some words of praise were also appended under the instruction of God Almighty Himself. Accordingly the Sayyid Sahib began to read out the paper and this indicated that he intended to tell Prophet Jesus about those high ranks which were appointed by God for this blessed religious community. And the words of praise that were recorded on this paper were all of them such that they could come from none but God Himself. Thus when the reading of that paper came towards the close and very little was left of it, the turn came for the name of my humble self, which was accompanied by the following eulogical remarks from God:

meaning, 'He is connected with Me in the manner of My Unity and Oneness. So he will very soon be made known among people.

"This last clause ..also came to me simultaneously as a piece of revelation.

"Since I was very fond of disseminating this spiritual knowledge from the very beginning, I immediately narrated this dream and this piece of revelation to several Muslims and Hindus who are still living in Qadian. It is noteworthy how very remarkable is this dream and this revelation and how they afford proof of their super-human origin. And although this prophecy has not reached its due fulfilment, it is worthwhile to wait for such a fulfilment in due course, because it is not possible for Divine promises to remain unfulfilled. It should also be remembered in this connection that although people who are outside the fold of Islam may sometimes have some true dreams, there are several clear point of difference between such dreams and those that come to such Muslims as show complete obedience to the chosen Prophet of God. Among these differences one is that the Muslims see such true dreams in large numbers as is promised by God in the words:

meaning, 'They shall have good news in this world's life' (10.64).

"But the unbelievers and the deniers of Islam are never privileged to experience such true dreams in such abundance. Nay, they do not get even 1/1000th part of this experience. And this can be proved by those numerous true dreams which I have announced to a large number of Muslims and Hindus before their fulfilment, and about whom I have always claimed that their like cannot be produced by other peoples.

"Another difference is that the dreams of Muslims mostly give good news about magnificent and important events, whereas the dreams of an unbeliever are mostly predictions about very insignificant affairs and are not of much importance and bear signs of disgrace and failure. As a proof of this it is enough to ponder over my own dreams with a sense of justice. If anyone wants to contend this assertion of mine he ought to produce before me such magnificent dreams from non-Muslims sources in support of his contention.

"Another difference is that a Muslim's dream is very straight and revealing, and it seldom happens to a perfect Muslim that his dream proves unreal and a mere nightmare, because he possesses a clean heart and a clean religion, and is in true contact with God. As against this, a denier of Islam, who may be regarded as lying in the midst of filth on account of the impurity of his heart and wrongness of his religious belief, is seldom in experience of any true dream. It has also been proved by experience that if any denier of Islam has a true dream out of the blue, it is conditioned by the fact that he does not happen to be an actively hostile person, like a Christian missionary or a Hindu Pundit, but is only a plain unsophisticated Hindu or a poor common Christian, who neither is a firm believer in his own religion nor bears any malice against Islam. It has, moreover, been proved by a large number of experiences that even when some humble Hindu or Christian sees an occasional true dream, these are not altogether free from an admixture of mistakes, not are they very clear. Such dreams suffer invariably either from default or excess or confusion or exaggeration or under-statement. I remember to have seen in a dream, in the month of Muharram 1299, that someone had sent to me Rs. 50 (Note: Rs. is the abbreviation of 'Rupees' the -- currency of India) as a help towards the printing of this book. On the same night an Arya gentleman also saw a dream about me that some one had sent Rs. 1,000 to me, as a similar help. And when this gentleman narrated this dream to me I at once narrated my own to him and added: 'Your dream has an admixture of 85% of falsehood, and this is a punishment for your being a Hindu and outside the pale of Islam. Perhaps he took it ill. But the fact was as I told him and the truth of it manifested itself on the fifth or the sixth day of the same month, when an amount of fifty rupees, which was remitted from Junagarh by Shaikh Muhammad Bahauddin Sahib, the Prime Minister of that State, in connection with the printing of this book, came to my hand in the presence of many people including an Arya gentleman. Praise to God for this!

"Similarly, God informed me in the course of a dream about the death of a certain Raja, and I communicated this to a Hindu gentleman who is now a practising lawyer. When this prophecy was fulfilled on the same day, it caused great surprise to this Hindu gentleman and he kept wondering how such a clear and open knowledge of the unseen could come to me in that manner. On another occasion, when the same lawyer gentleman appeared for his examination in law, many others appeared with him in the same examination from the same district. At this time I saw a dream which I communicated to this gentleman and perhaps to thirty or forty more Hindus, some of whom are now acting as Tahsildars (Note: A tax collector), some others as Sarishtadars and still others as Muharrirs (Note: A clerk or scribe). This dream purported to say that, of all these gentlemen, only the first mentioned would come out successful, and all the others would fail. And it actually so happened, and in 1868 I received this news in a letter of this lawyer gentleman to me, here at Qadian. Praise to God for this!

"It is to be remembered in this connection that just as the dreams of our opponents often prove unfounded and false in matters of the world, similarly in matters religious they prove adulterated and baseless. Some eight or nine years back I was told that a certain Christian missionary had prophesied that within three years from that time Prophet Jesus would come down from heaven to help the Christian missionaries. After this perhaps it was in Manshur-i-Muhammadi, or some other newspaper, that I read about some Bangalore missionary making a similar prediction. In any case, a long time has since passed and the predicted period of three years has long been over, but no one has yet seen the Jewish Messiah coming down from heaven. So this prophecy of these missionaries proved as false as that of certain astrologers which spoke of the Doomsday occurring in November 1881. I should like to make it clear that I am not denying the possibility of some Christian missionaries actually dreaming about the descent of Jesus from heaven. What I mean is that the dreams of these people, because of their unbelief and hostility towards the last of the Prophets, often prove utterly unfounded. And if any dream of their proves somewhat true, which is very rare, even this is ambiguous and admits of various interpretations. Thus their dream about Jesus, if it falls into the latter category, will mean the advent of some great figure among the followers of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and this quite accords with the rules of dream interpretations. Because from very ancient times it has been noticed that whenever any Christian sees the advent of his own Messiah in a dream with the object of reviving the faith, or some Hindu sees in the same way that some Avatar is to appear to impart glory to his own faith, and if such dreams have any truth in them they are to be taken to mean that the Messiah or the Avatar in such cases stands for some great figure among the followers of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), who appears in time from the progress and reformation of true religion. And because such personalities in Islam are successors in their inner illumination of all past holy personages in the world, they appear to people with obscure spiritual visions, in the form of persons who are regarded by such as holy and spiritually advanced and leaders in the path of truth and spiritual guides. In short, the dreams of the Christians and Hindus more often than not prove to be baseless, utterly false or ambiguous. So taking all these facts into consideration it becomes evident that the coming of true dreams in abundance and their coming in perfected form and their throwing light on very great events and their coming with noticeable clarity – all these are privileges of the followers of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and cannot be shared by any other religious community. The reason is that all these other people have gone astray from the right path. And their thoughts are engaged in the worship of the world and of people and of their baser selves, and are totally deprived of that spiritual light which the people of truth receive from God. This is no mere assertion, nor just words of mouth, it is a verified truth which, if contended by any sensible man, his contention should be accompanied by a corresponding fact, because a fact which has been illuminated by incontestable proofs and indubitable evidences cannot be rejected on the basis of just senseless words of mouth.

Continuing further Hazrat Mirza says:

"The fifth kind of revelation is that which has nothing to do with the mind of man, but is a voice which comes from without. This voice looks as if it is coming from some man speaking behind a curtain, with the difference that it is extremely enjoyable, exhilarating and somewhat quick in its transmission and brings relish to the heart. The man concerned is somewhat in a state of absorption when all of a sudden he hears such a voice and wonders where from it is and who spoke to him. In amazement he looks before and behind and then realises that it is from some angel that the voice came. Such external voice often comes to a man when he is extremely anxious and confused about some affair or is extremely disturbed to hear some bad news which is in fact wrong. Such voice, however, is not known to have come in response to repeated prayers as is the case in the second kind of revelations, already discussed. On the contrary, it comes from some invisible angel suddenly whenever He wills it, whereas the revelations of the second category are known to have come by way of a reply from God in response to perfect prayer. Even if such prayers are addressed a hundred times the beneficent God replies to them as often in the same manner, as has been confirmed by my repeated experiences …. Anyway it should be understood that revelation is a factual and certain truth of which the secret and holy source lies in the religion of Islam and God, Who has been befriending the truthful from the beginning of time does not open the door of light on others and does not confer His special blessing on those outside the fold. How can He do so? Is it possible for a man who has closed all the doors of his room and has been sitting in it with his eyes blindfolded to get the light in the same way as one who has kept all his doors open and who has no veil over his eyes?"

Pursuing the same subject Hazrat Mirza observes:

"Apart from this, one of the strangest facts in this connection is that sometimes revelations are received by me in alien languages to which I am completely a stranger, and they contain prophecies and this is evidently a strong evidence on the wide powers of the Almighty. No doubt, these words of foreign languages are not all retained in memory and they sometimes lose in their accuracy of pronunciation, because of the quickness of the process of revelation and of my ignorance of the tone and the language, but in the majority of cases where the transmission is clear and the sentences are not hard, the retention is more or less correct. And although on account of the quickness of the communication certain words are left out of my memory, yet when a sentence is repeated twice or thrice I fully retain its words. During these revelations Almighty God uses His power of absolute control in a manner that has no admixture of any means, external or internal. At such moments the tongue acts as a mere instrument in the hand of God, Who turns this instrument, i.e., the tongue, in any manner He likes. And frequently it so happens that such words are released with force and quickness. And sometimes they appear in the manner of a person who advances with grace and coquetry and pauses after one step before taking another and shows elegance in his gait. The wisdom in the adoption of these two methods is that a clear distinction may be maintained between Divine revelations and the thoughts proceeding from the self of man or from the devil, and that the revelations of the Almighty God may be recognised in their majestic and graceful blessings. I remember how the first revelation that came to me in English was 'I love you.' It was followed by another revelation 'I am with you.' This was followed by still another revelation 'I shall help you.' Then came another revelation 'I can what I will to do.' This was followed by another which came with such force that it shook my whole body. 'We can what We will to do.' This came in such manner and with such a pronunciation that it appeared to come from an Englishman who seemed to speak over my head and in spite of its being attended with an awesome atmosphere it brought with it a relish which gave solace and comfort to the soul even before the experience came. This kind of English revelations came to me every now and then. Once a student of English came to see me and in his very presence the revelation came. 'This is My enemy.' Although I perceived that the revelation concerned this young man, yet I got its meaning from him and he proved ultimately as the revelation spoke of him and he was found to be a person of filthy mind.

"Once I was shown in the morning time certain printed pages in a vision which appeared to have been from the post office, and at the end of which it was written 'I am by Jesus.' The meaning of these words was ascertained from a certain gentleman conversant with the English language, and then communicated to two Hindu and Arya gentlemen, and they seemed to indicate that some Christians or people of Christian mentality would send me some adverse criticism of Islam in print. Thus on the same day, an Arya Samajist was sent to the post office at the mail time and he brought to me some printed pages on which some Christian-minded whimsical gentleman had written some hostile remarks against Islam. Once when a certain affair needed some investigation I was given in a vision a gold coin of the shape of an almond on which were inscribed two lines, the first of which was in English and read 'Yes, I am happy,' and the second line which was separated from the first by a line drawn between the two was only a translation of the first. Once when some days of sorrow and bereavement were in prospect I was shown in a vision the following sentence written on a paper in English, 'Life of Pain.' Once the following two English sentences were revealed in connection with certain adversaries who had unnecessarily vilified the Quran and had levelled some baseless charges against the true religion of Islam, out of spite which could not be placated.

1. 'God is coming by His army.'

2. 'He is with you to kill [the] enemy.'

"There were other similar English revelations that came to me; some of which I still remember but others I have forgotten. But the largest number of revelations come in Arabic language, more particularly they come in the language of Quranic verses and these come in abundance and regular succession." (Barahin Ahmadiyya).

So far about the nature of revelation and the various manners of their appearance, we have seen with what wealth of details the Saint of Qadian describes his experiences on the subject. Even a hardened agnostic will realise from his statements that none but a man of solid experience can describe this phenomenon in such a lucid, forceful and accurate manner. He will also recognise that in view of the wonderful fulfilment of the prophecies announced or implied in some of these revelations, a scientific-minded man cannot help acknowledging reality behind these experiences. 

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Books Section > Phenomenon of Revelation by Maulana Aftab-ud-Din Ahmad Sahib [Based on Hazrat Mirza Sahib's Writings]

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