What made the prophecy of the plague so unique?

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Prophecies of the Promised Messiahas

وَ مَا نُرۡسِلُ الۡمُرۡسَلِیۡنَ اِلَّا مُبَشِّرِیۡنَ وَ مُنۡذِرِیۡنَ ۚ وَ یُجَادِلُ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا بِالۡبَاطِلِ لِیُدۡحِضُوۡا بِہِ الۡحَقَّ وَ اتَّخَذُوۡۤا اٰیٰتِیۡ وَ مَاۤ اُنۡذِرُوۡا ہُزُوًا۔ وَ مَنۡ اَظۡلَمُ مِمَّنۡ ذُکِّرَ بِاٰیٰتِ رَبِّہٖ فَاَعۡرَضَ عَنۡہَا وَ نَسِیَ مَا قَدَّمَتۡ یَدٰہُ

“And We send not the Messengers but as bearers of glad tidings and as Warners. And those who disbelieve contend by means of falsehood so that they may rebut the truth thereby. And they take My Signs and what they are warned of only as a jest. And who is more unjust than he who is reminded of the Signs of his Lord, but turns away from them, and forgets what his hands have sent forward?” (Surah al-Kahf, Ch.18: V.57-58)

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A series of articles on the Internet raise allegations on various prophecies of the Promised Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas of Qadian.  The prophecy of the plague has been highlighted at the outset. The Promised Messiahas announced:

“Today, Sunday, 6 February 1898, I saw in a dream that God’s angels were planting black trees in different parts of the Punjab. Those trees were very ugly, black in colour, terrifying and small in size. I asked some of those who were planting them, ‘What kind of trees are these?’ They answered, ‘These are trees of the plague which is about to spread in the country…’” (Tadhkirah, pp. 407-408)

The article suggests that the Bubonic plague was a recurring epidemic that killed millions of human beings over a period of centuries and it had reached China in the mid-19th century, arriving in Bombay by 1898 and for it to reach the region of Punjab was inevitable.

The author refers to a governmental order dated 12 February 1897 to point out that before the prediction of the founder of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat, the government was already aware about the spread of plague in Punjab and making plans to tackle it.

Pondering over the revelations of the Promised Messiahas regarding the plague, we find that the author was not informed about another prophecy of the plague published by the founder of Ahmadiyya Jamaat in his book, Nur-ul-Haq in the year 1894:

“Know then that Allah has breathed into my heart that the eclipses of the moon and of the sun that have occurred during Ramadan are two awe-striking Signs which have been exhibited to warn those who follow Satan and have adopted the ways of injustice and transgression … If they persist in their denial, the time of the chastisement [plague] is near.” (Tadhkirah, pp. 324-325)

Referring to the above prophecy, the Promised Messiahas states:

“On pages 35 to 38 [Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 8, pp. 47-52] of my book Nur-ul- Haq, I had recorded my prophecy that God had conveyed to me that the lunar and solar eclipses that took place in the month of Ramadan were precursors of the coming chastisement. In accordance with this prophecy, such a plague broke out in the country that about 300,000 people have died so far.” (The Philosophy of Divine Revelation, p. 292 [English Translation of Haqiqatul Wahi])

Hence, the argument that the Promised Messiahas predicted the plague outbreak when he came to know about the governmental order of 1897 or the fact that the plague had reached Bombay [now Mumbai] in the year 1898, comes crashing down because Allah the Almighty had already revealed upon him in the year 1894 that the plague would spread as a chastisement for those who persist in their denial.

A very significant aspect of the prophecy has either been deliberately left by the author or he forgot to mention it. The Promised Messiahas prophesied the outbreak of plague at a time when there was hardly any plague in the Punjab and long before the plague spread like wildfire and thousands of people died on weekly basis. In those circumstances, he declared through another revelation of God Almighty that:

اِنِّیْ اُحَافِظُ کُلَّ مَنْ فِی الدَّارِ ۔۔۔ وَاُحَافِظُکَ خَاصَّۃ

“I shall safeguard all those who are in this house … and I shall safeguard you in particular.” (Nuzul-ul-Masih, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 18, p. 401)

In accordance with the words of Allah the Almighty, the Promised Messiahas, his family and nearly 80 members who dwelled in his house were safeguarded from the catastrophe and the town of Qadian witnessed minimal casualties as compared to other parts of the subcontinent.

Moreover, the Promised Messiahas issued an open challenge to ascertain the truth of the prophecy:

“I swear by God Almighty that I am the Promised Messiah. I am the one who was promised by the Prophets. The Torah, the Gospel and the Holy Quran all give news about me and the era of my advent and expound that, in the heavens, the moon and the sun would be eclipsed at the time of my appearance and a terrible plague would befall the land. This is my sign; each and every opponent – whether he lives in Amroha or Amritsar, whether in Delhi or Calcutta, whether in Lahore, Golra or Batala – if any of them should swear on oath that their area of residence shall remain free from the plague, then it will surely be swept up by the plague, for they would have committed insolence against God Almighty.” (Defence against the Plague and a Criterion for the Elect of God, pp. 29-30)

The Promised Messiahas repeatedly challenged his opponents to publish an announcement, if they believed that Allah was on their side, saying that their abodes would be saved from the calamity of plague. Moreover, he said that if any one of them dared to declare that their town would be saved from the plague, it would surely be engulfed by it. However, nobody accepted his challenge and divine revelation took its course.

Another aspect of the prophecy was that the plague would be a means of increasing the numbers of Ahmadiyya Jamaat. The Promised Messiahas states:

“I claim with full confidence and emphasis that if one person of our Jamaat dies of the plague, 100 or even more enter into our Jamaat in his place. This plague continues to increase the number of our Jamaat and continues to decimate our opponents. Each month, at least 500 and, at times, 1,000-2,000 new persons enter the fold of the Jamaat on account of the plague. Thus, the plague is a boon for us, but a bane and a chastisement for our opponents. I am sure that if the plague continues to remain rampant as it is now for another ten to fifteen years, the entire country will be filled with the Ahmadiyya Jamaat. It is an established fact that the plague continues to increase the numbers of our Jamaat and decrease those of our opponents. And if someone can prove otherwise, I solemnly declare under oath to God that I shall pay 1,000 rupees in cash to such a person. Is there anyone to challenge this offer and collect the reward from me?” (The Philosophy of Divine Revelation, p. 713)

The article raises another objection referring to following statement of the Promised Messiahas:

“The wording of God’s holy revelation that was sent down to me is:

اِنَّ اللہَ لَایُغَیِّرُ ما بِقَومٍ حَتّٰی یُغَیِّرُوْا مَا بِاَ نْفُسِھِمْ

“This means that God has determined not to remove the affliction of the plague until people remove from their minds the thoughts that surge therein; that is to say, until they accept the commissioned one and Messenger of God.” (Defence against the Plague and a Criterion for the Elect of God, pp. 29-30)

The author suggests that the above-mentioned claim of the founder of Ahmadiyya Jamaat was not fulfilled and the plague subsided without a mass acceptance of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’sas prophethood.

Explaining the word “ta‘un” [plague], the Promised Messiahas states:

“As a matter of fact, the word ta‘un is the name of death. Those harmful diseases which result in death are called ta‘un in the lexicon. It is a very broad word according to the lexicon. It is quite possible that this time it occurs in another form or it outbreaks in a similar manner with much more severity. The revelation of Allah the Almighty also states the words: 

افطر و اصوم

“[I shall break the fast and I shall fast (again)], meaning that as it is permissible to eat and drink during the breaking of a fast, there will be a time when the plague will continue to devour people, and there will be another period of time which will be peaceful, this being the state of fasting … 

انی مع الرسول اقوم۔ افطر و اصوم۔ لن ابرح الارض الی الوقت المعلوم۔

“[I shall stand with My messenger and shall break the fast and also observe it. I shall not depart from this land till a determined time.]  People are quick to formulate an opinion for their peace and comfort. [They say] that it was like a disease, so it left. How [could it be considered] a sign or an admonishment?  Hence, they console themselves through similar ideas. In reality, the word ta‘un is a very broad term. Plague [means] death by all those diseases which circulate after a period of time. For instance, smallpox, pleurisy, fever, tumors, vomit and coma [etc.] are included in all of these diseases.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 10, p. 287)

Accordingly, there are countless epidemics that are still widespread on the face of the earth, which include plague, cholera, smallpox, AIDS and malaria etc.  We have previously mentioned in an article of Responding to Allegations under the heading Prophecies of the Promised Messiahas – Part XVI that the plague continues in various shapes and forms to date.

As far as the matter of mass acceptance of the Promised Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas of Qadian is concerned, it should be kept in mind that he claimed to be the Messiahas of the latter days in accordance with the prophecy of the Holy Prophetsa. The author knows full well that the majority of the world population has still not accepted Islam. So, we strongly believe that the words of God Almighty, “He it is Who has sent His Messenger with the guidance and the religion of truth, that He may cause it to prevail over all religions, even if those who associate partners with God hate it” (Surah al-Saff, Ch.61: V.10) shall surely be fulfilled and the Jamaat of the Messiah of Muhammadsa will spread Islam to the corners of the earth, Insha-Allah.

(Research conducted by the Research Cell. Translated by Junaid Ahmad Waraich)

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