Last Updated on 5th June 2020
Ataul Fatir Tahir
یٰحَسۡرَۃً عَلَی الۡعِبَادِ ۚؑ مَا یَاۡتِیۡہِمۡ مِّنۡ رَّسُوۡلٍ اِلَّا کَانُوۡا بِہٖ یَسۡتَہۡزِءُوۡنَ
“Alas for My servants! There comes not a Messenger to them but they mock at him.” (Ch.36: V.31)
A point of contention a recent video has made is upon the Promised Messiah’sas understanding of a revelation that he received concerning his marriage.
The Promised Messiahas received the following revelation from Allah around 1881:
“A virgin and a widow”
Commenting on this revelation, the Promised Messiahas interpreted it as his marriage to two separate ladies:
“It is God’s intention that He will bring two ladies in my wedlock. One will be virgin and the other, a widow. Therefore, this revelation, that is related to the virgin, has been fulfilled and presently, by the grace of God, I have four sons from this wife. I am still awaiting the [fulfillment] of the revelation regarding the widow.” (Taryaq-ul-Quloob, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 15, p. 201)
One must note here that the Promised Messiah’sas interpretation is not the prophecy, rather the Arabic words are the prophecy given by Allah. This is important to keep in mind.
The Arabic of the prophecy:
can have two translations. Firstly, it can describe a state and condition of one woman who would be “A virgin and widow”. Secondly, it can be used to mean two separate women, “A virgin and a widow”. The Promised Messiahas interpreted the revelation to mean the latter. However, time would tell that Allah merely described the state and condition of one lady in this revelation.
As we have explained in our previous issue, prophets, including the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, can, and have, interpreted prophecies and revelations initially according to their understanding. We desire not to delve into this topic as it has been dealt with in our previous issue. Nevertheless, the incident of the Treaty of Hudaibiya and also the Holy Prophetsa understanding a dream to mean that he would migrate to Yamama or Hajar are two instances that should suffice for any fair-minded person to accept this reality.
The Promised Messiah’sas understanding and interpretation of this prophecy, which he received very early on, was further informed by Allah in 1906. The following revelation was given to the Promised Messiahas on 16 February 1906:
تَکْفِیْکَ ھٰذِہِ الْاِمْرَأَۃُ
“This woman will suffice for you”
“This woman” was none other than Hazrat Nusrat Jehan Begum Sahiba, may Allah be pleased with her, who the Promised Messiahas was married to.
Through the above revelation, Allah told the Promised Messiahas that “a virgin and widow” was always about one lady. Consequently, the revelation was fulfilled with Hazrat Nusrat Jehan Begumra, who experienced both “states” of the prophecy as she passed away after the Promised Messiahas. The revelation was always about her and in this manner, the prophecy was clearly fulfilled.
Prophets do not shy away from openly sharing revelations and prophecies Allah has revealed to them, even if they seem impossible. They also give interpretations of their prophecies and revelations throughout their life, most are accurate, and others are not.
One must keep in mind that prophecies can be multidimensional and fulfilled in numerous ways and so, if, for some reason someone does not attest to the fulfilment of this prophecy with Hazrat Nusrat Jehan Begumra, then another angle will also fulfil this prophecy.
In As-Sirat-ul-Halabiya (volume 3, Battles and the Conquest of Mecca) it is written:
“The Holy Prophetsa saw in a dream that he entered heaven and saw a date palm full of fruits. This surprised him. He asked, ‘Who is this for?’ It was said, ‘For Abu Jahl’. This was difficult to bear for the Holy Prophetsa. He said, ‘None will enter heaven except a believer.’ So, when Ikrimah, son of Abu Jahl came to him as a Muslim, he became joyful and interpreted the fruit as being for Ikrimah.”
Here, the Holy Prophetsa himself did not fully understand or interpret a prophecy Allah gave him. However, later, the Holy Prophetsa understood that Hazrat Ikrimahra, the son, represented Abu Jahl in reality and his conversion was the fulfilment of the prophecy.
In the same vein, the son of the Promised Messiahas, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IIra also fulfilled the prophecy of “A virgin and a widow”. This is so, as Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmadra married both a virgin and a widow. In this manner, sticking to the manner of interpretation of the Holy Prophetsa, a son representing his father in a prophecy, the Promised Messiah’sas prophecy is clearly fulfilled.
Both of these applications of the prophecy are valid and a clear sign of the truthfulness of the Promised Messiahas.
Regarding interpretations, the Holy Prophetsa said:
المُجْتَهِدُ يُخْطِئُ وَيُصِيْبُ فَإِنْ أَصَابَ فَلَهُ أَجْرَانِ وَإِنْ أَخْطَأَ فَلَهُ أَجْرٌ وَاحِدٌ
[The one who makes an independent judgement may be correct or incorrect. If they are correct, then they will have two rewards. If they are incorrect, then they will have one reward.] (Al-Nibras Sharh-ul-Sharh Aqaid Nasfi)
In fact, Muslim scholars of the past have attested to the fact that the Holy Prophetsa gave some judgments and interpretations that were not correct:
أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ قَدْ يَجْتَهِدُ فَيَكُوْن خَطَأً
[The Holy Prophet gave a judgement and was mistaken.] (Ibid.)
When one can come to grips with this trait of prophets, the Promised Messiah’sas prophecies will be better understood and readily accepted. Prophets, after all, are human beings and can make human errors.
We have presented numerous examples of where prophets have misjudged a prophecy. The following example of the Holy Prophetsa is also presented for this purpose. The Holy Prophetsa said to his wives:
اَسْرَعُکُنَّ لِحَاقًا بِیْ اَطْوَلُکُنَّ یَدًا
“The one from among you who has the longest hands shall be the first to pass away after my demise and join me.” (Sahih Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Zakat)
Regarding this, Hazrat Aishara said:
“We inferred this to mean physical hands and would often measure our hands with one another. However, when the Holy Prophetsa passed away and Zainab bint Jahash was the first to leave this world, it was then that the secret revealed itself to us that the word ‘hand’ referred to charity and alms, not a physical hand.” (Sahih Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Zakat)
The point to note here is that the Holy Prophetsa did not stop his wives measuring one another’s physical hands, nor told them the prophecy was metaphorical. This indicates that the Holy Prophetsa also believed this prophecy to have a literal meaning, which was not the case in the end.
Therefore, one must always look at the bigger picture and refer to the actual prophecy at hand.
It is not that the Promised Messiahas would misinterpret all his prophecies, far from it! The majority of what he understood from his revelations were accurate and the opponents of Islam Ahmadiyyat, like all previous deniers of prophets, cling onto ambiguity or human errors.