Prophethood of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad a.s. and the plague

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Prophecies of the Promised Messiahas – Part X

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An allegation raised by opponents of the Jamaat is that according to the second Khalifa, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmadra, the founder of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat claimed to be a prophet of God in the year 1901, which shows that he was not a prophet when the outbreak of plague was at its peak in 1898. Opponents ask how the plague could act as a punishment for the deniers of the founder of Ahmadiyya Jamaat? Moreover, they assert that the people are still mocking and denying the founder of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat, so if the outbreak of the plague was a punishment of his denial, then why has it ceased to occur? And is it even possible that God sends a plague upon the denier of His wali (beloved of God)?

The Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, narrated that Allah the Almighty said:

من عادی لی ولیا فقد اٰذنتہ بالحرب

“I declare war against him who shows hostility towards My beloved one” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kita al-Riqaq). The matter discussed in this Hadith-e-Qudsi (Hadith reporting God’s words) is that Allah the Almighty penalises the opponents of His beloved and this punishment may appear in the form of earthquakes, floods, tempests, diseases or wars. Hence, whichever way Allah the Almighty wills, He chastises the enemies of His dear ones.

Apart from the discussion of whether the founder of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat claimed to be a waliullah (beloved of Allah) or a nabiyullah (prophet of Allah), the founder of Ahmadiyya Jamaat said that the torment of the plague descended upon the opponents as a result of their denial and hostility towards him. Accordingly, Allah the Almighty rendered his claim truthful by safeguarding him and his family from the plague and the people of his town as compared to other towns. Moreover, those who believed him were saved far more than those who did not believe him.

As far as the claim of the opponents is concerned that according to the second Khalifa, the founder of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat claimed to be a prophet of God in the year 1901, it is absolutely false and deceitful. There is not a single reference found in the writings and lectures of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra which indicates that the claim of the Promised Messiahas to be the prophet of Allah came in the year 1901 because Allah the Almighty had already granted him the station of prophethood in the era when he wrote the book, Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya. However, when an Ahmadi friend in reply to a question negated the prophethood of the Promised Messiahas in the year 1901 and said that he had not claimed to be a prophet, the Promised Messiahas declared it a huge mistake and published a booklet, Aik Ghalati ka Izala (A Misconception Removed) wherein he stated:

“Some members of my Jamaat, who are less familiar with my claim and its supporting arguments, and who have neither had the chance to study my books in depth, nor have they spent enough time in my company to be fully informed, sometimes counter an objection raised by an opponent with an answer which is entirely contrary to the facts. Thus, notwithstanding their adherence to the truth, they have to suffer embarrassment. Only a few days ago, one of them was confronted with an objection that the person to whom he had sworn allegiance claimed to be a prophet and messenger, and the reply given was a mere denial, which was not correct. The fact is that in the divine revelations of which I am the recipient, words such as ‘messenger’, ‘apostle’ and ‘prophet’ appear not once, but hundreds of times. How then can it be correct to say that such words have not at all been used? The fact is that such words are found with much greater clarity and lucidity now than ever before. Even in Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, which was published some 22 years ago, these words appear in no small number. For instance, one of the revelations found in Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya reads:

هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَى وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ لِيُظْهِرَهُ عَلَى الدِّينِ كُلِّهِ

“He it is Who sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth, that He may make it prevail over every other religion, even though the idolaters may dislike it” (See Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya Part III, p. 157 [English Translation]). In this revelation, this humble one has been clearly addressed as ‘messenger’. Later on, in the same book, there is this revelation regarding myself:

جری اللّٰہ فی حلل الانبیاء

i.e., ‘Allah’s Messenger in the garb of Prophetsas’ (See Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya Part IV, p. 381 [English Translation]). In the same book, close upon the above divine communication, is this divine revelation:

مُّحَمَّدٌ رَّسُولُ اللّٰهِ ۚ وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ أَشِدَّاءُ عَلَى الْكُفَّارِ رُحَمَاءُ بَيْنَهُمْ

‘Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and those who are with him are hard against the disbelievers, tender amongst themselves’, in which I have been named ‘Muhammad’ as well as ‘messenger’. Then there is this divine revelation recorded on page 557 of Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya [old edition] [Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya Part IV, p. 435 (English Translation)], ‘A Warner came unto the world’, another rendering of which is, ‘A Prophet came unto the world.’

“At several other places in Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, I have similarly been addressed as ‘messenger’. (A Misconception Removed, pp. 1-3)

Muslims used to believe that a prophet of God is the one who brings a new divine book or abrogate certain commandments of the previous Shariah (divine law) [Saaduddin, Sharah Al-Maqasid]. As the Promised Messiahas did not do any of the things mentioned in the traditional definition of a prophet, he used to interpret the words nabi (messenger) and rasul (prophet) present in his revelations that a muhaddith (a recipient of God’s word) or a partial and a limited messenger is meant by these words. Hence, the Promised Messiahas states:

“Wherever I have denied being a prophet or messenger, it has only been in the sense that I have not brought an independent law nor am I an independent prophet. I am a messenger and prophet only in the sense that I have received spiritual grace from the Messengersa whom I follow, and, having received his name for myself, and through him, I have received knowledge of the unseen from God. But I have not come with a new law. I have never denied being called a nabi in this sense. Indeed, it is in this very sense that God has addressed me as nabi and rasul.” (A Misconception Removed, p. 10)

In the above mentioned extract, the words “an independent prophet” highlight the fact that the Promised Messiahas only denies being a prophet who claims that he has attained prophethood without the obedience and servitude of the Holy Prophetsa.

However, when the Promised Messiahas was guided by Allah the Almighty that the scholars were mistaken regarding the definition of a prophet, he left the scholars’ interpretations of his revelations and stated:

“Whosoever discloses matters of the unseen on the basis of divine knowledge would necessarily be a nabi within the connotation of the verse:

لَا يُظْهِرُ عَلَىٰ غَيْبِهِ

‘He does not grant anyone ascendancy over His domain of the unseen… [Except to him whom He chooses, namely a Messenger of His’ (Surah al-Jinn, Ch.72, V.27-28)].” (A Misconception Removed, p. 6)

The Promised Messiahas further states:

“Let it be remembered that I do not deny being a prophet and a messenger in this connotation. It is in this very connotation that the Promised Messiah has been designated a prophet in Sahih Muslim. If one who is bestowed knowledge of the unseen by God Almighty cannot be given the title of prophet, then tell me, what else should he be called? If you say that he should be called muhaddith, I would counter that no lexicon attributes to tahdith the connotation of disclosure of the unseen, while nubuwwat means the disclosure of the unseen.” (A Misconception Removed, p. 8-9)

Thus, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra said:

“As he [the Promised Messiahas] was previously a messenger, he remained afterwards as well. The station of his messengership was not altered.” (Haqiqat-ul-Nubuwwah, Part I, Anwarul-Ulum, Vol. 2, p. 377)

Opponents further assert that people have not refrained from mockery and denial of the founder of Ahmadiyya Jamaat, then why is it that the plague has discontinued?

Pondering over the accounts of earlier prophets mentioned in the Holy Quran, we find that there are two kinds of torments that befall their opponents. Firstly, a torment befalls the opponents when they do not refrain from inflicting pain to a prophet even though he has duly conveyed the message of God through all possible means. For instance, Allah the Almighty sent a torment upon the nation of Noahas when they excelled in mockery, even though he kept on preaching and warning them and nobody from the opponents was able to survive. It is stated in the Holy Quran:

“And it was revealed to Noah, ‘None of thy people will believe except those who have already believed; grieve not therefore at what they have been doing. And build thou the Ark under Our eyes and [as commanded by] Our revelation. And address not Me concerning the wrongdoers. They are surely going to be drowned.’ And he was making the Ark; and every time the chiefs of his people passed by him, they mocked at him. He said, ‘If [now] you mock at us, [the time is coming when] we shall mock at you even just as you mock [now]. ‘Then you shall know who it is on whom will come a punishment that will disgrace him, and on whom will fall a lasting punishment.’ Till, when Our command came and the fountains [of the earth] gushed forth, We said, ‘Embark therein two of every kind, male and female, and thy family, except those against whom the word has already gone forth, and those who believe. And there did not believe and live with him except a few.” (Surah Hud, Ch.11, V.37-41)

Similarly, Allah the Almighty has recorded the accounts of the opponents belonging to the nations of Ad, Salehas, Lotas and Midian in Surah Hud. All of them were wiped off the face of the earth due to the first kind of torment.

The second kind of torment is the one in which some opponents are given respite, so that they may learn a lesson or only those opponents suffer from it who are explicit and blunt in opposition. For instance, those torments which befell the opponents of Mosesas, as it is stated in the Holy Quran:

فَأَرْسَلْنَا عَلَيْهِمُ الطُّوفَانَ وَالْجَرَادَ وَالْقُمَّلَ وَالضَّفَادِعَ وَالدَّمَ آيَاتٍ مُّفَصَّلَاتٍ فَاسْتَكْبَرُوا وَكَانُوا قَوْمًا مُّجْرِمِينَ

“Then We sent upon them the storm and the locusts, and the lice, and the frogs, and the blood – clear Signs; but they behaved proudly and were a sinful people” (Surah al-A‘raf, Ch.7, V.134). Hence, these torments did not cause the opponents to completely annihilate and the opposition to end.

Similarly in the Battle of Badr, even though Allah the Almighty declared it to be yaum-ul-furqan (the day of distinction), which was a torment for the opponents of the Holy Prophetsa, only those opponents were killed who fought against the Muslims and in fact, there were many who retreated in order to save their lives.

Thus, considering the viewpoint of the opponents, the miracle of the Battle of Badr and all those signs that were shown by the Holy Prophetsa are rendered worthless because the opposition of Muslims has not stopped to this day.

It is strange that the opponents of the Promised Messiahas do not consider this fact that countless people lost their lives due to the plague and towns were ruined. Moreover, they do not recognise that Allah the Almighty can also delay a tormentand shower His mercy upon those who seek forgiveness. There were many who repented and entered the pale of Islam Ahmadiyyat during the outbreak of plague. Thus, the Promised Messiahas stated on 28 August 1904:

“There is not a shadow of doubt that the plague has occurred as a torment. However, it is not reasonable to raise voices or objections if a number of individuals from our Jamaat pass away due to plague. The only matter to be considered is which party was at a loss and which group benefited from the plague. I can say for certain that at the time when the plague began to spread, the strength of our Jamaat was less, but presently, the total number of our Jamaat has gone beyond the figure of two hundred thousand and the plague has been a factor in this progress. The plague helped our Jamaat to increase in number and caused our opponents to decrease. I was promised that the plague would serve as a means of our progress. Thus, in accordance with this promise, our Jamaat is growing and has reached the figure of two hundred thousand. However, the opponents suffered a two-fold loss; some of them were buried in graves while others joined our Jamaat. If we were to endure any loss from it [the plague], our Jamaat, which was very small and comprised of a few individuals would have been destroyed and nobody would have survived to recognise it.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 7, pp. 160-161)

(Research conducted by a panel of scholars at the Research Cell, Rabwah. Translated by Junaid Ahmad Waraich, Pakistan.)

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