(Hazrat Maulvi Sher Ali’s letter to the Madras Mail regarding the advent of the Promised Messiah)
Fulfilment of the prophecy
[Prophet] Ahmadas of Qadian was the Promised Messiah. He appeared at the time that the scriptures fix for the advent of the Promised Messiah. He appeared in the land to which scriptures had pointed as the land of the appearance of the Messiah. All the signs of the coming of the Messiah have come to pass. God has shown, at his hands, mighty signs and has worked wonders that establish the truth of his claims beyond all doubt.
Let us first take the question of time and see whether he made his appearance in due time. To this question, there is only one answer. It is admitted on all hands that the present is the time for the appearance of the Promised Messiah. All calculations based on biblical prophecies point to the present age as the age of the Messiah. Pamphlets have been issued and books have been written by Christians in which it has been declared with certainty that according to biblical prophecies, the present age is unmistakably the time for the appearance of the Messiah. I refer here only to one out of the many books that have been written on this subject. This book, entitled the Millennial Dawn, was published in 1889 [by Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, Allegheny, PA, USA] and in it, the learned author, after a careful examination of the prophecies shows that 1873 was the year of the coming of the Messiah, and that from that year up to 1914 he would gather his saints and that then his kingdom would be firmly established, so as to be seen by all men, but that until that time he was not to be recognised but by the chosen few. And so it happened, for it was approximately by the same time that he made his public appearance as a world-reformer.
From that time he and his first successor, Hazrat Maulvi Noor-ud-Din[ra], were occupied in gathering together the saints and it was on 14 March 1914 that his son, Hazrat Mirza Mahmud Ahmad[ra], who was born in fulfilment of a great prophecy of his, became his second successor and he sent missionaries to foreign lands with the result that the followers of the Promised Messiah are now to be found not only in various parts of India, but also in Europe, America, Africa, Australia and other parts of the world. Wherever the British flag flies, there are also found members of the Ahmadiyya Community, and also in other parts of the world. We have Ahmadiyya mosques in London, Chicago and West Africa. Now the kingdom of Messiah has been firmly established and what had before remained hidden from the people may now be seen by all the world.
It being admitted even by Christians that the age in which Ahmad[as] of Qadian made his appearance is really the age of the Promised Messiah, it is needless for me to labour this point. I will content myself with mentioning two facts that will convince every reader that the Promised Messiahas appeared in the fullness of time.
The Right Reverend Thomas Newton DD, Lord Bishop of Bristol, says in his great work already quoted:
“There is an old tradition, both among Jews and Christians, that at the end of six thousand years, the Messiah shall come, and the world shall be renewed, the reign of the wicked one shall cease, and the reign of the saints upon earth shall begin.” [Dissertations on the Prophecies, p. 222, London, 1838]
Now, by lunar computation, six thousand years from Adam have already passed, so the Promised Messiah made his appearance at the time that had been decreed by God thousands of years ago.
Another equally clear proof of the fact that the Promised Messiah appeared at the appointed time is to be found in the prophecy of Daniel, which runs thus:
“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that time. […] But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book even to the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. […] Then I said, ‘O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?’ and He said, ‘Go thy way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified and made white and tried but the wicked shall do wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand. And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away and the idols shall be broken, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waiteth and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.’” [Daniel: 12:1-12]
Many will be startled to read the words in italics, for they are not to be found in the current English translation of the Bible. But everyone who will turn to the Hebrew Bible, will find the original words to be “wa-la-tet shi-quts” [וְלָתֵ֖ת שִׁקּ֣וּץ] which means “and the idols shall be broken”.
Matthew Poole, in his Annotations on the Bible, says, “The Jews make these days, i.e., years to end at the coming of Christ, but uncertain when to begin their reckoning, but have been often and grossly deceived. Sound Christians refer it to the second coming of Christ.” To the second coming of Christ, the prophecy certainly refers, but I regret to say that the Christians too, like the Jews, being uncertain whence to begin their reckoning, have been often and grossly deceived. The words “from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away and the idols shall be broken” evidently refer to the days of the Holy Prophet of Arabia, may peace and blessings of God be upon him, when the new law vouchsafed to the like of Moses as predicted in Deuteronomy 18:22, did away with the daily sacrifice and when the idols were broken at Mecca. The latter event took place in 8 AH, so according to Daniel’s prophecy, the Promised Messiah was to appear at 1300 AH, and so it came to pass. Muslim prophecies also pointed to the same date as the time of the appearance of the Promised Messiah[as].
Thus, it is clear that Ahmad[as], the Promised Messenger of the latter days, made his appearance at the appointed time.
He also appeared in the land, which, according to the word of God, was to be favoured with his advent. All prophecies fix the east as the place of the Promised Messenger’s appearance. But at present, I am concerned only with the prophecies contained in the Christian scriptures, so I will show that these prophecies also fix the east as the place of the Promised Messiah’s appearance. Jesus said: “For as the lightning cometh out of the east and shineth even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the son of man be.” [Matthew 24:27] Two things are foretold here, firstly the place of his appearance and secondly the quickness with which his message will be conveyed from one end of the earth to the other. The place of his appearance was to be the east, for he compares his coming to a lightning which shines from the east to the west. He was to appear in the east and from the east his mission was to spread to the west with the quickness of lightning. The latter part of the prophecy has been fulfilled by the modern facilities of communication which did not exist when the above words were spoken. As the Promised Messiah was destined to convey the message of truth to the whole world, God brought into existence means by which he could accomplish his object with a quickness which was amazing compared with the slow means of communication in the days of Jesus and which might well be compared to the swiftness of lightning. That in the above words Jesus was referring to the place of his appearance is clearly determined by the verse which follows.
Jesus continues to say: “For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.” [Matthew 24:28] In these words, Jesus gives the reason for his appearance in the east. He will appear in the east because the carcase which he will come to rid the world of will demand his appearance in the east. The carcase are the errors which have corrupted the various religious systems of the world, particularly Christianity and which the followers of different religions are doing their worst to propagate among others. There was no other country where these errors were to be found in a more accumulated form and where greater exertions were being made to propagate them than India; hence his appearance in this land. India was the arena of religions and there was no other country in the world where so many religions were represented and where each religion was contending for supremacy. Hence it was that the Champion of truth who was to come as a judge between the various contending religions appeared in India.
Not only did Ahmad[as], the Promised Messiah, appear at a time when his appearance was due and at a place where his advent was predicted but he also came with all the signs which were to mark his advent. “There never was” to quote a pamphlet entitled ‘The Heralds of His Coming’ “there never was another generation save this that saw all these signs fulfilled and fulfilling.” All that had been predicted has come to pass, and if the Messiah has not already appeared, it is vain to hope that he will appear in the future. Either he has already appeared or he will never appear at all. If you do not accept the Messiah that has already come, you will never see another Messiah until this world passes away. Your case will then be like that of the Jews who rejected the Messiah when he came and have not seen another Messiah since then. Even the Second Messiah came, but they are yet expecting the first Messiah.
Yet I hope that the case of the Christians will not be like the case of the Jews; for there are many among them who will welcome the truth; nay they are already accepting the truth and the movement is spreading in England and America.
If you ask how we should know that he is really from God, I say, consult the Bible and see what criteria it gives to know the truth of a true prophet. Judge him by those criteria and you will find that he is a true Messenger of God.
For instance, in Deuteronomy 18:21-22, it is said, “And if thou say in thine heart how shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: Thou shalt not be afraid of him.” Here it gives a test of a true prophet. A false prophet who speaks in the name of the Lord cannot make a true prophecy. So if Ahmad made true prophecies, every believer in the Bible must accept him and if any Christian rejects the Promised Messiah in spite of the hundreds of true prophecies which he made in the name of the Lord, then such a Christian is false in his claim to be a believer in the Bible and will be called to account for rejecting a true prophet of God.
His prophecies which have already been fulfilled are so numerous that it will require volumes to discuss them. So I will content myself with only a few extracts from some of his warnings which appeared years ago in the pages of The Review of Religions so that your readers may be able to see how true his prophecies have turned out to be.
At a time when the world was enjoying perfect peace and prosperity, the Promised Messiah repeatedly warned the world of the tribulation which was about to overtake the present generation. The Review of Religions for March 1905, contains the following warning from his pen:
“Arise and be ready, for a time of great distress has come for this generation. […] These are days of great distress and the wrath of God is kindled in heaven. […] Know it for certain that these are days of such great affliction for the world as it has never seen since its creation. […] Almighty God informed me of these onslaughts twenty-five years before this time, and this divine information was recorded in the Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya at that very time.”
In the following month (April 1905), he issued another warning in the course of which he said:
“As it is my duty to invite men and to deliver to them the message of my Lord, I, therefore, again inform the public, and God bears witness that the fact has been revealed to me by divine inspiration, that His wrath is kindled upon the world. […] He who has been sent by Him for the regeneration of mankind is laughed at, and scorns and abuse have overstepped all limits. Almighty God has therefore said that He would now fight against them [through the means of angels and the powers of nature, not human fight. (footnote)]. He has said that His onslaughts on them would be such as they have never thought of.” [Majmu’ah-e-Ishtiharat , Vol. 3, p. 518]
On 24 December 1905, he published his “Will” in the course of which he wrote:
“The knowledge that I have been granted about the calamities is none other than that death will run rampant on all sides, that earthquakes of such severity will occur as will provide a foretaste of the Day of Judgement.” (The Will, p. 3)
In 1906, he wrote:
“Bear in mind that God has informed me about the coming of earthquakes in general. So know it with certainty that just as, in keeping with the prophecy, there have been earthquakes in America and also in Europe, so will they occur in different parts of Asia, and some of them will be like the Doomsday. There will be death on such a large scale that streams of blood will flow. Even birds and grazing animals will not escape this death. Such destruction will overtake the earth as has not happened since man was created. Most places will be turned upside down as if they had never been inhabited. There will also be other terrible afflictions, both in heaven and earth to the extent that every sensible person will realise that they are not ordinary phenomena, and no trace of them will be found in books of physics or philosophy. Then people will be seized by anxiety and they will wonder what is going to happen? Many will be delivered, and many will perish. Those days are near, indeed they are at the door, when the world shall witness the spectacle of a doomsday. Not only the earthquakes, but other terrible calamities will also appear, some from heaven and some from earth. This will occur because mankind has abandoned the worship of their God, and have fallen upon materialism with all their heart, all their resolve, and all their thoughts. Had I not come, these calamities might have been delayed a little, but with my coming the hidden designs of God’s wrath that had remained hidden for a long time, have been manifested as God said: وَمَا كُنَّا مُعَذِّبِيۡنَ حَتّٰي نَبۡعَثَ رَسُوۡلًا [And We never punish until We have sent a Messenger. (Surah Bani Israil, Ch. 17: V. 16)] […] O Europe! You are not safe! And O Asia! Neither are you secure! And O the dwellers of Islands! No artificial ‘God’ will come to your aid. I see cities falling and habitations in ruin.” [The Philosophy of Divine Revelation (Haqiqatul Wahi), pp. 326-328]
Mark, on one hand, the time when the above warnings were uttered and see on the other, how clearly and how terribly they have come to pass. And he made hundreds of such true prophecies. Can there still be any doubt as to the truth of his claims?
Sher Ali BA, Qadian, Punjab, 4 March 1923.
(Transcribed and edited by Al Hakam from the original in The Review of Religions [English], January, February and March 1923)