Book: Noah’s Ark [Kashti-e-Nuh]
Author: Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadianas
Islam International Publications
Reading time: 2 hours
Prince Edward Island, Canada
Noah’s Ark is a comprehensive manual that provides guidance towards being a good Ahmadi Muslim and a remarkable human being.
Noah’s Ark is not the story of Prophet Noahas, his people or the biblical Ark that he built; it is an account of the philosophy that befell the people of Noahas. The Ark was a means of saving Noahas and his followers from the flood that engulfed the valley. Accordingly, Ahmadas and his followers held tight to the rope of Allah and were saved by means of the Divine promise mentioned in the book – “I will save those who are in your house” from the relentless plague.
The book was published in 1902, at a time when the plague was wreaking havoc in India, especially Punjab. In 1896, after a hiatus of a few hundred centuries, the plague awakened, reaching the shores of Mumbai. Soon the death toll reached thousands. The Promised Messiahas, having published his foreknowledge on at least four prior occasions (Majmu’a Ishtiharat, Vol. 3, Announcements 182, 185, 189 & 210) and unable to bear fellow humans in pain, published another tract (Announcement 237) urging people to join his fold and save themselves from the wrath of God. His request was met with jest.
The plague did not stop its devastating journey and by 1902, hundreds of thousands had fallen to an avoidable fate. The government, having poured precious funds into research, announced a vaccine and offered it for free to all residents of British India. The British government had two motives to find a cure. One was the obvious loss of life in India, and second was the effect on the British economy as the Ottoman Empire placed quarantine restrictions on all travel and trade from India.
The book opens with a prologue, The Plague Vaccine. Hazrat Ahmadas, after thanking the British government for “having undertaken the expenditure of hundreds of thousands of rupees for the welfare of the servants of God,” examines the sorry state of Muslims in India, who were “far detached from God” and had become “sworn enemies of the path of righteousness”.
A common Muslim had come to distrust the government and all their actions, as they felt a deep loss of identity. Even when the cost of distrust was their life or that of a loved one, they refused to get inoculated. The Promised Messiahas admonished this practice, stating that a person who refused help was “foolish.” He then explained his reasons for declining the vaccine. As the plague was a sign from God, he assured the Government, “In relative comparison to others, God will grant this community a special favour”.
The second chapter of the book, titled Our Teaching opens with a surety for those who belonged to the house of the Promised Messiahas. The only way to be safe in this world is to put all your belief in the Omnipotent God Who is nearer than a person can imagine. Ahmadas said that a person whose inner and outer appearance was not the same and whose word and thought conflicted could not be accepted by God. Purity of soul and cleanliness of thought is the key to becoming righteous.
This chapter is full of advice that is a cure for ill hearts. “Show mercy to His servants,” and striving for what may appear seemingly impossible behavior, he advises “Behave not arrogantly towards anyone even if they be your subordinate, and revile not anyone even if they should revile you. Become humble, tolerant, well-intentioned and compassionate towards God’s creation so that you may be accepted by God.”
In this age, the road to success is the Holy Quran. We should follow the teachings of the Holy Quran and exert our utmost efforts to follow in the footsteps of the Holy Prophetsa. A person must remember that salvation is not something that will come in the next life, but it is a journey we embark on in this life and continue to the next.
To be counted in the house of the Promised Messiah and Mahdias, it is not enough to merely say a few words of the Baiat (pledge); one must change their inner being. Only when hearts and minds are in sync with the message of God, can one tread upon the path of righteousness and become the recipient of Divine favours.
In summary, the book is a treasure trove for anyone looking for guidance. Three points that form the central theme of the book are:
1. Guidance for any and all matters can be found in the Holy Quran and through observing the life of the Holy Prophetsa of Islam
2. The guide of this age is Hazrat Ahmadas, the restorer of Islamic values
3. A person’s heart is their beacon towards goodness or wickedness
The plague in British-India was at its peak from 1902 to 1907, during which the death toll reached millions. (Seal, S.C., 1960. Epidemiological studies of plague in India. Bulletin of the World Health Organization) As this was testimony to the Promised Messiah’sas truthfulness, the logical result was a sharp growth of the Jamaat. There were days when 500 or more letters of Baiat were received from all over India (Silsila Ahmadiyya, Vol. 1, p.118). The remarkable truth was that while some Ahmadi Muslims fell on the battleground against the plague, it was nothing compared to the millions that met an unfortunate fate.
In this age, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih reminds us to stop and reflect on our habits, behavior and deeds. He has reminded us time and again that our beliefs should be a reflection of the Promised Messiah’s teachings. Water was the means of destruction for the enemies of Noahas. The Plague destroyed the enemies of Ahmadas. Nuclear weapons appear to be the main destructive force today. It is, indeed, a time for self-reflection.