Earthquake like Judgement Day
Of the revelations that pertain to the coming of an “earthquake like Judgement Day”, the following revelation is presented as an allegation:
اَخَّرَهُ اللّٰهُ اِليٰ وَقْتٍ مُّسَمَّي
“Allah has postponed it, till a time appointed.” This was revealed to Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiah, peace be upon him, on 28 March 1906.
After presenting this revelation, the opponents of the Jamaat say that on 8 April 1906, God said:
رَبِّ اَرِنِيْ زَلْزَلَةَ السَّاعَةِ۔ يُرِيْكُمُ اللّٰهُ زَلْزَلَةَ السَّاعَةِ
“O my God, show me the earthquake which is the example of Judgement Day because of its severity. Allah will show you the earthquake of Judgement Day.”
Then, on 20 May 1906, God said:
اُرِيْكَ زَلْزَلَةَ السَّاعَةِ ۔ اِنِّيْ اُحَافِظُ كُلَّ مَنْ فِي الدَّارِ
“I shall show you the earthquake which shall be the example of Judgement Day. I shall safeguard everyone in this house.”
With these revelations, opponents seek to assert that Hazrat Ahmadas said that the “earthquake like Judgement Day” would appear in his life, yet it did not, thus rendering the prophecy false and proving that this was not from God.
First and foremost, let’s take the issue of whether or not the revelations he received were, in actuality, from God.
When the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa claimed to be a prophet having been divinely appointed by God, the Quraish said, as Surah al-Haqqah puts it, that his words were not the words of God, rather they were the words of a poet, while some said that they were uttered by a soothsayer. Allah rebutted this claim by saying, “[It is] a revelation from the Lord of the worlds.” (Surah al-Haqqah, Ch.69: V.44)
Allah went on to say:
“And if he had falsely [attributed] even a trivial statement to Us, We would surely have seized him by the right hand, and then surely We would have severed his jugular vein, and none of you could shield him [from Us]. And verily, it is a reminder for the righteous.” (Ch.69: V.45-49)
From the time he was given prophethood until the revelation of these verses, the proof of the Holy Prophet’ssa revelations being from God was the fact that had they not been from God and had he fabricated them, then God would not have given such ample time for him to spread his message far and wide.
Regarding the revelation of the aforementioned verses, Hazrat Umarra said:
“These verses had been revealed before my accepting Islam. Once, the thought crossed my mind that the Holy Prophetsa would go to the Ka‘bah at night to worship, so I should go and kill him. Thus, I went there and hid in the dark. After some time had elapsed, the Prophetsa arrived and began offering Tahajud prayers. At first I intended to immediately attack him, but then I thought to listen to what he was saying. Upon hearing, I found that he was reciting these very verses of Surah al-Haqqah. These verses had such an impact on me that it kept me from attack him.” (Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal, Umar bin al-Khattabra, Hadith 107)
Hazrat Umarra accepted him in his sixth year of prophethood. In other words, these verses were revealed 6 years after being commissioned as a prophet, and the 5 to 6 year period that had elapsed was a proof of the truthfulness of his prophethood and claim to talk to God.
The Holy Prophetsa claimed prophethood at the age of 40 and passed away at 63. Allah bestowed upon the Prophetsa 23 years to propagate his claim and message.
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas presented this argument in support of his claim saying that if God had bestowed upon him so much time and potential to propagate his mission as he had done to the Holy Prophetsa, then how could his claim be false?
Some opponents say, These verses are exclusively with regard to the Prophetsa that if he made a false claim then God would have destroyed him. In these verses, God did not say that whoever falsely claimed prophethood would be destroyed.
In response to this assumption, the Promised Messiahas said:
“Although this verse has been revealed regarding the Holy Prophetsa, it is of general application, quite like the idiom of the entire Holy Quran where most of the commands and prohibitions are apparently addressed to the Holy Prophetsa, but others are also addressed in these commandments, or such commandments are exclusively meant for others…
“After this short digression, let me turn to the main subject. God says about the Holy Prophetsa, that, had he lied against Us, We would have destroyed him. This does not mean that God has expressed His jealousy only with reference to the Holy Prophetsa in that were he an impostor, God would have destroyed him; but His jealousy is not roused in the case of others no matter how much they lie against God or concoct false revelations and ascribe them to God. Such a concept is as irrational as it is against all of God’s Scriptures.
“The Torah still contains the sentence that whoever lies against God and makes a false claim to prophethood shall be destroyed. Besides, Muslim scholars have long been quoting the verse وَ لَوْ تَقَوَّلَ عَلَيْنَا [and if he had falsely attributed to us…] before the Christians and the Jews as evidence of the veracity of the Holy Prophetsa. It is obvious that an argument is of no use unless it has a general application.
“How can this be an argument that had the Holy Prophetsa fabricated [against God], he would have been destroyed and the whole undertaking would have come to naught, but God is not offended if someone else fabricates [against Him]; rather, He loves such a person and grants him respite more than He did to the Holy Prophetsa and even helps and supports him! This should not be called an argument. Rather, it is a claim which itself stands in need of an argument.
“Alas! In opposing me, they have stooped so low as to attack even the Signs of the veracity of the Holy Prophetsa. Since these people know that more than twenty-five years have elapsed since my claim of being a recipient of divine revelation and inspiration, which exceeds even the tenure of ministry of the Holy Prophetsa as that was twenty-three years; while, in my case, it is close to thirty years and I do not know how long the extent of my period of call is in the knowledge of God.
“This is why these people, despite being hailed as maulvis, assert that one who lies against God and is a false claimant of revelation can even survive for as long as thirty years from the beginning of his fabrication and that God can help and support him, and yet they do not produce any precedent for it.” (Haqiqatul Wahi [The Philosophy of Divine Revelation], pp. 259-261)
When, according to the criteria of the Quran, the Promised Messiah’sas claim to prophethood proves true, then we should reflect over the revelations to do with an “earthquake like Judgement Day” neutrally and free of any spite.
Allah revealed to Hazrat Ahmadas revelations like “Allah will show you the earthquake of Judgement Day” and “I shall show you the earthquake that shall be the example of Judgement Day”. Through interpreting these very revelations did the Promised Messiahas allude to the coming of the “earthquake like Judgement Day” in his time.
Previously, we have discussed the fact that interpretation of divine news can be interpreted one of two ways – either it can be correct or it can be incorrect. The correct interpretation will be proven through the outcome of events. Prophet Noahas interpreted that the promise of protection would extend to his son, whereas he drowned, and the events proved that the son was not part of the promise.
The Holy Prophetsa thought one year that that was the year he and his companions would be given the chance to circumambulate the Ka‘bah. With this in mind, the Prophetsa set off with 1,400 companions for Mecca. However, the resistance of the Quraish, the treaty of Hudaybiyyah and the later events would show that the Prophet’ssa interpretation was incorrect.
Similarly, the Holy Prophetsa was promised that his migration would be to a place famous for its dates. The Prophet’ssa interpretation of this was that his migration would be to Yamama or Hajar, however later events proved that his interpretation was not correct and that he migrated towards Yathrib, later known as Medina. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Manaqib-ul-Ansar)
When God said that He would “show you the earthquake” that would be a sign of Judgement Day, the events that unfolded showed that Allah did not mean physically showing him.
The Arabic verbs رَاَي (he saw) and اَرَي (he showed) do not just mean seeing with one’s eyes, rather it also means to obtain knowledge of something by any means. For example, Allah addressed the Prophetsa and said:
اَ لَمْ تَرَ كَيْفَ فَعَلَ رَبُّكَ بِاَصْحَابِ الْفِيْلِ
“Hast thou not seen how thy Lord dealt with the People of the Elephant?” (Surah al-Fil, Ch.105: V.2)
Similarly, God says:
اَلَمْ تَرَاِلَي الَّذِيْ حَاجَّ اِبْرَاهِيْمَ فِيْ رَبِّهِ اَنْ اٰتَاهُ اللّٰهُ الْمُلْكَ
“Hast thou not heard of him who disputed with Abraham about his Lord, because Allah had given him kingdom?” (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.259)
Much like other similar verses, the incidents mentioned in these verses occurred well before the birth of the Prophetsa. Despite this, God Almighty used the words اَلَمْ تَرَ (have you not seen…?), which, in other words, mean اَلَمْ تَعْلَمْ (are you not aware…?). This is because the Prophetsa came to know of some of the incidents mentioned in verses like these through either divine knowledge or through people.
Further, God says in the Quran:
اِنَّا اَنْزَلْنَا اِلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ لِتَحْكُمَ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ بِمَا اَرَاكَ اللّٰه
“We have surely sent down to thee the Book comprising the truth, that thou mayest judge between men by that which Allah has taught thee.” (Surah al-Nisa, Ch.4: V.106)
In this verse, much like others, اَرَاكَ does not mean seeing with one’s eyes, rather it is to convey knowledge or pass on information.
Thus, the revelation the Promised Messiahas received, “I shall show you the earthquake which shall be the example of Judgement Day” does not mean that God would show him through his physical eyes, rather He would show Hazrat Ahmadas through divine revelation and vision.
Accordingly, on 11 June 1906, the Promised Messiahas was shown a vision about which he said:
“I was shown the scene of an earthquake. With that, I received the revelation:
لِمَنِ الْمُلْكُ الْيَوْمَ۔ لِلّٰهِ الْوَاحِدِ الْقَهَّارِ
‘Whose is the kingdom this day? It is that of Allah, the One, the Most Supreme.’” (Badr, 14 June 1906, p. 2)
The Promised Messiahas said:
“Of course, I have also reiterated again and again, as is my belief, that it cannot be categorically claimed with regard to the prophecies that they will necessarily be fulfilled in a certain way. It is possible that God – the All-Knowing, the All-Wise – may choose some other manner for its manifestation that has the same grandeur and power and awe-inspiring feature as the prophecy signifies.” (Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya Part V, Appendix to Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya Part V, pp. 360-361)
Then, with regard to the tremors of the earth as a result of the earthquake, the Promised Messiahas says:
“This is what my understanding is. Beyond it, God knows well His hidden secrets, and it is possible that He may at a later stage disclose to me more than this, for He has power over all things.” (ibid., p. 350)
“… probably and preponderantly the word zalzalah means ‘earthquake’. And yet it is possible that these words may, in conformity with the eternal practice of God, signify some other such terrible, extraordinary, and devastating calamity that has the appearance and characteristics of an earthquake. Metaphors do abound in the discourse of God Almighty…” (ibid., p. 345)
“… the word zalzalah [earthquake] in my prophecies, most probably implies an earthquake – if it is not that, then an extraordinary calamity is implied that would have a very great resemblance with an earthquake and would have the character of an earthquake fully…” (ibid., p. 346)
This “earthquake” came to light in the form of the First World War, starting from 1914 and lasting until 1918.
Hazrat Ahmadas mentioned aspects of this in the following couplets:
اِك نشاں هے آنے والا آج سے كچه دن كے بعد
جس سے گردش كهائيں گے ديهات و شهر اور مرغزار
“A Sign will appear some days hence; Which shall overwhelm the countryside, the cities, and the meadows.”
آئے گا قهر خدا سے خلق پر اِك انقلاب
اِك برهنه سے نه يه هوگا كه تا باندهے ازار
“People will be seized with a revolution by the divine wrath, so suddenly that a naked one will have no time to secure his clothing.”
يك بيك اِك زلزله سے سخت جنبش كهائيں گے
كيا بشر اور كيا شجر اور كيا حجر اور كيا بحار
“All of a sudden, with a severe earthquake, all will be shaken up – Be they humans, tree, mountains, or seas.”
اِك جهپك ميں يه زميں هو جائے گي زير و زبر
نالياں خوں كي چليں گی جيسے آب رود بار
“In the twinkling of an eye, the earth will be turned upside down; Streams of blood shall flow like the flowing of a channel.”
رات جو ركهتے تهے پوشاكيں برنگ ياسمن
صبح كردے گي انهيں مثلِ درختان چنار
“Those whose night garments were white as jasmine will wake up in the morning as if clad in red, like the poplar tree.”
هوش اُڑ جائيں گے انساں كے پرندوں كے حواس
بهوليں گے نغموں كو اپنے سب كبوتر اور هزار
“Men and animals will go out of their minds; All pigeons and nightingales will forget their songs.”
هر مسافر پر وه ساعت سخت هے اور وه گهڑی
راه كو بهوليں گے هو كر مست و بيخود راهوار
“That hour will bear heavily upon every traveller, and those who are on a journey will lose their way in a fit of forgetfulness.”
خون سے مردوں كے كوهستان كے آبِ رواں
سرخ هو جائيں گے جيسے هو شرابِ انجبار
“The flowing waters of mountain streams will run red, like red wine, with the blood of the dead.”
مضمحل هو جائيں گے اس خوف سے سب جن و انس
زار بهي هو گا تو هوگا اس گهڑی با حالِ زار
“Men, high and low, will be consumed with fear; And the Tsar himself will, at that hour, be in a pitiable state.”
اِك نمونه قهر كا هوگا وه ربّانی نشاں
آسماں حملے كرے گا كهينچ كر اپنی كٹار
“That divine Sign will be a specimen of terror; Heaven will attack with a drawn dagger.”
هاں نه كر جلدي سے انكار اے سفيهِ ناشناس
اِس په هے ميري سچائي كا سبھی دار و مدار
“Hasten not to deny this – O ignorant fool! – for my truthfulness depends entirely on the fulfilment of this Sign.”
وحي حق كی بات هے هو كر رهے گي بے خطا
كچه دنوں كر صبر هو كر متقی اور بردبار
“This is a prophecy based on revelation of God and will surely be fulfilled; Wait, then, a while in righteousness and steadfastness.”
يه گماں مت كر كه يه سب بد گمانیهے معاف
قرض هے واپس ملے گا تجه كو يه سارا ادهار
“Do not imagine that all your ill thinking will be forgiven; It is a debt that will be repaid to you in full.”
(Research by a panel of scholars at the Research Cell, Rabwah)