Interpretation of the Holy Quran

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Did the interpretations of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira and Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra contradict the viewpoint of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas?

فَوَجَدَا عَبْدًا مِّنْ عِبَادِنَا آتَيْنَاهُ رَحْمَةً مِّنْ عِنْدِنَا وَعَلَّمْنَاهُ مِنْ لَّدُنَّا عِلْمًا

“Then, they found one of Our servants, upon whom We had bestowed Our mercy, and whom We had taught knowledge from Ourself.” (Surah al-Kahf, Ch.18: V.66)

Referring to the incident mentioned in the above verse and the succeeding verses, opponents allege that the interpretation of these verses by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira and Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra contradict the viewpoint of the Promised Messiahas regarding these verses.

Allah the Almighty states in the Holy Quran: 

الرَّحْمٰنُ عَلَّمَ الْقُرْآنَ

“It is God, the Gracious, Who has taught the Quran [to the Holy Prophetsa].” (Surah al-Rahman, Ch.55: V.2-3)It should be noted here that God did not say: 

اوحي اليه الفاظ القرآن

that “God revealed the words of the Quran to him [the Holy Prophetsa]” but instead, He said, “[God] taught the Quran [to the Holy Prophetsa]”, thereby integrating the two subjects that Allah the Almighty not only taught the words of the Holy Quran to the Holy Prophetsa but also taught their meanings as well.

After teaching the words and deep understanding of the Holy Quran, Allah the Almighty assigned him the task of teaching mankind its meaning and explanation saying:

وَأَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الذِّكْرَ لِتُبَيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ مَا نُزِّلَ اِلَيْهِمْ

“And We have sent down to you the reminder that you may explain to mankind that which has been sent down to them.” (Surah al-Nahl, Ch.16: V.45) 

However, the Holy Prophetsa did not explain all those meanings that were taught to him by Allah the Almighty, as we find that after the demise of the Holy Prophetsa, righteous scholars continued to present various new meanings of the Holy Quran and this will persist till the end of times. 

If someone says that the Holy Prophetsa already explained all the meanings of the Holy Quran, then we ask, where are they? Were they wasted by Allah the Almighty? Of course not! Prophets only follow the commandments of God. They explain those meanings that Allah the Almighty guides them to explain through concealed or clear revelation and they refrain from explaining those meanings about which Allah the Almighty does not command them to explain. Moreover, a prophet would be held responsible if he explained a point of divine wisdom about which Allah the Almighty had not instructed him to explain and vice versa. 

Allah the Almighty has pointed out this responsibility of the Holy Prophetsa in the Holy Quran: 

يَتْلُوْا عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِهِ وَيُزَكِّيْهِمْ وَ يُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَ الْحِكْمَةَ

“[The Prophesa] who recites unto them [the Companionsra] His Signs, and purifies them, and teaches them the Book and wisdom.” (Surah al-Jumuah, Ch.62: V.3)In the words “who recites unto them His Signs”, the teaching of words is being highlighted while in “[he] teaches them the book”, the teaching of deeper meanings is being referred to.

We are not worthy of posing such questions against the Holy Prophetsa as why he did not let his companions know about various new meanings of the Holy Quran, which were later explained by the righteous people of his ummah. A prophet is not bound to act in accordance with the desires and recommendations of his followers. Similar was the matter of the Promised Messiahas. The prophecy that was foretold by the Holy Prophetsa regarding the Promised Messiahas has been narrated in three different ways in the Hadith:

“Abu Hurairahra relates that people were sitting around the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of God be upon him, when Surah al-Jumuah was revealed. When the Prophetsa recited the verse ‘And among others from among them who have not yet joined them. He is the Mighty, the Wise’ (Surah al-Jumuah, Ch.62: V.4), a person enquired from the Holy Prophetsa as to who those people would be? He repeated this question two or three times. Hazrat Salmanra the Persian was also seated in the audience. The Holy Prophetsa placed his hand on the shoulder of Salmanra the Persian and said, ‘If faith goes up to the Pleiades, even then people from among the Persians will certainly bring it back [to Earth].’” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Tafsir ul Quran)

“Abu Hurairahra reported that Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of God be upon him, said: ‘If faith goes up to the Pleiades, even then a person from Persia would surely take hold of it, or one amongst the Persian descent would bring it back [to Earth].’” (Sahih Muslim, Kitab Fazail ul Sahaba)

“Abu Hurairahra reported from Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of God be upon him: ‘If knowledge goes up to the Pleiades, even then people from among the Persians would certainly bring it back [to Earth].’” (Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Hadith 7937)

The words “[He] would certainly bring it back [to Earth from the Pleiades]” indicate that Allah the Almighty would Himself teach the Promised Messiahas deep understandings of the Holy Quran. He was also bound to follow true guidance through divine revelation. Hence, he explained those meanings of the Holy Quran that Allah the Almighty guided him to explain through concealed or clear revelations and refrained from explaining those meanings about which Allah the Almighty did not command him to explain. 

The Khulafa and righteous scholars who came after him explained various other meanings of the Holy Quran under the guidance of Allah the Almighty and will continue to do so.

In the era of the Promised Messiahas, people used to believe that only a prophet is worthy of divine revelation as is the case even in the present times. So, if somebody claims that he has received divine revelation, nobody trusts them as they consider it not from Allah the Almighty and believed it to be a figment of their own imagination. 

Therefore, the Promised Messiahas pointed out four instances from the Holy Quran to remove these misconceptions about divine revelation, which are as follows: 1. The disciples of Jesusas received divine revelations, though they were not prophets. 2. The mother of Jesusas received divine revelation and she was told about future events regarding the birth and future life of Jesusas. 3. The mother of Mosesas received divine revelation to place him in a basket and set him adrift on a river when and if she felt any threat for the life of her child. 4. In the incidents of Mosesas, there is mention of a man of God who received divine revelation and carried out various works, which at first appeared objectionable and against the Shariah, but later proved correct. Thus, the Promised Messiahas clarified from the above examples that a non-prophet can receive divine revelation and moreover, this divine revelation is worthy of being reliable and true. 

The Promised Messiahas proved from the incidents of the mother of Mosesas and that of Mosesas with a man of God that divine revelations received by holy persons reach the level of certainty. As they considered their revelation true and certain, one of them set her son adrift on a river and endangered his life while the other one killed a boy. If they had not considered their divine revelations to be true and reliable, they would never have acted upon them.

This explanation presented by the Promised Messiahas before the world could only be carried out by taking the apparent meanings from these words of the Holy Quran. Had Huzooras explained the deeper, hidden meanings of these verses of the Holy Quran as explained by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira in his darses (in-depth sermons of verses of the Holy Quran) and Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra in Tafsir-e-Kabir (Urdu exegesis of the Holy Quran) instead of the apparent meanings, then he could not have deduced this explanation and it would not have created any impact on the general public. In fact, it would have produced an opposite effect and people would have mocked him because only that person can be influenced by his explanation of deeper meanings of the Holy Quran who has true faith in him.

The second explanation related to the incident of Mosesas with the man of God presented by the Promised Messiahas was that if one does not understand the actions and sayings of those holy men who attain elevated status from the Divine, and it is proven from various divine signs that they receive divine revelations, they should not raise allegations against them because we cannot reach the depth of their reality.

Again, this explanation can only be presented by taking the apparent meaning of the Holy Quran because the person who does not consider the Promised Messiahas from Allah the Almighty or who has accepted him but is still in doubt concerning smaller matters cannot be satisfied with the apparent meanings of the verses of the Holy Quran. Presenting inner meanings of the Holy Quran in front of such a person who is in confusion and uncertain would further distant them from the right path.

During the age of the Promised Messiahas, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira, while explaining this matter to a person in a letter, also took the apparent meaning of these verses. His letter is cited in Izala-e-Auham, a book of the Promised Messiahas, and is as follows:

“…Thus, have faith in the divine revelations. Do not claim of having absolute understanding of them. An incident, dating prior to the advent of our leader, our master, and the seal of all the Prophets, mentioned at the end of part fifteen and the beginning of part sixteen of the Holy Quran, holds considerable importance. The incident relates to Prophet Mosesas, an undisputed resolute law-bearing prophet according to the Jews, Christians and Muslims. This noble Prophet, as recorded by the imam-ul-muhadithin[chief scholar of the traditions of the Holy Prophetsa] Imam Bukharirh and his likes, is reported to have said on one occasion, “I know everything”. Thereupon, God led him to His dear one, Khizaras. When Prophet Mosesas met this arif[the enlightened one], he was not able to grasp the depth of his true wisdom and deep spiritual insight. Khizaras had already told him:

إِنَّكَ لَنْ تَسْتَطِيْعَ مَعِيَ صَبْرًا

‘Thou, canst not keep company with me in patience’ and

وَكَيْفَ تَصْبِرُ عَلىٰ مَا لَمْ تُحِطْ بِهِ خُبْرًا

‘And how canst thou be patient about things, the knowledge of which thou comprehendest not?’ (Surah al-Kahf, Ch.18: V.68-69). Hence, as an etiquette of faith, the conduct required was at least to remain silent in matters of such persons….” (Izala-e-Auham, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 3, p. 628)

But later, when he delivered a dars in the mosque, he elaborated the hidden meanings of these verses because on this occasion, the interpretation was needed. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra also explained the deeper meanings of these verses in Tafsir-e-Kabir. So, the apparent and hidden meanings of the verses cannot be considered contradictory to each other. Apparent meanings are based on one concept while the deeper meanings are based on various other concepts. It is for this reason that nobody from among the Companionsra ever raised any objection against Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira or Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra because every one of them knew that the Promised Messiahas had discussed these verses, presenting their apparent meanings. The Khulafara explained the deeper meanings of these verses, as is stated in a Hadith of the Holy Prophetsa,

لِكُلِّ آيَةٍ مِّنْهَا ظَهْرٌ وَبَطْنٌ

“Every verse has an apparent and an inner meaning to it.” (Mishkat-ul-Masabih, Kitab al-Ilm)

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

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