Last Updated on 25th November 2022
Guidance regarding basic Islamic issues – which Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa has given on various occasions in his written correspondence and during MTA programmes – is being officially published below for everyone’s benefit
A lady from Austria wrote to Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa that people from different cultures, some Muslim sects and Muslim scholars and many other religions had expressed their views about reincarnation, an overview of which was as follows: God Almighty reincarnates man in order to establish justice. He brings man into the world repeatedly, so that he may go through different experiences like poverty, wealth, sickness and health etc., because it would be unjust for man’s soul to go through only one experience.
She asked what the position of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was on this issue and whether the Promised Messiahas or any of his caliphs had said anything in this regard.
Huzoor-e-Anwaraa, in his letter dated 6 September 2021, provided the following guidance on this issue:
“The doctrine of reincarnation, in fact, stems from not understanding and not believing in the life of the hereafter, which is the eternal life. It is the result of unfamiliarity with God’s nature and His attributes, especially the attributes of creation, sovereignty and various other attributes related to His Rahmah, such as generosity, effacing of sins, forgiveness and mercy, etc. As per the doctrine of reincarnation, God Almighty is compelled not to grant everlasting salvation to any human being. If a person wishes to attain salvation by repenting from his wanderings and misdeeds during his life, God is unable to grant it to him, merely on account of his repentance and pure transformation. Rather, that person must, according to the doctrine of reincarnation, re-enter the world in another state, even if it means departing from human existence and transmigrating into a dog, a monkey or a pig. Moreover, this false doctrine also prevents a person from following the paths of purity, because, as a result of believing in this doctrine, it is possible, for instance, that the woman he marries in the reincarnated life, may have been his mother, sister or grandmother in the previous life. Apart from this, there are many other absurd and nonsensical aspects of this doctrine.
“The Promised Messiahas has refuted this un-Islamic doctrine of reincarnation, which is completely inconsistent with the attributes and nature of God Almighty, in a very detailed and reasoned manner in several of his works (including The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam, Chasma-e-Ma‘rifat, Arya Dharam, Qadian Ke Arya Aur Hum). From among those works of the Promised Messiahas, The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam, Chasma-e-Ma‘rifat, Qadian Ke Arya Aur Hum, Lecture Lahore and Lecture Sialkot have also been translated into Arabic and are available online, along with their Arabic translations. [For the English translation of the Promised Messiah’sas works, visit www.lislam.org/books/hazrat-mirza-ghulam-ahmad — Editor, Al Hakam] There you will be able to find the Promised Messiah’sas refutation of the doctrine of reincarnation. As an example, the following excerpt from one of his works is reproduced below. Huzooras states:
“‘Transmigration — the returning of the souls to this world in different forms — is the other aspect of their doctrine which relates to the creation. Despite all their claims to reason and rationality, the Aryas believe that Parmeshwar is a hardhearted being who punishes the souls for millions of years as a penalty for a single sin and keeps throwing them back into the cycle of transmigration even though they are not His creation and He has no right over them. Would it not be more appropriate to punish them for a specific number of years, as earthly governments do? Greater punishment can only be justified if one has an equally greater right over the guilty, but when all particles and souls are self-existent and the Parmeshwar has no right over them — except, perhaps to cast them into repeated rebirths — He is surely not entitled to put them through such a long punishment.
“‘In Islam, although God says that He is the Creator of every particle and every soul, and the Source of all their powers, their life and their existence, He still says:
اِلَّا مَا شَآءَ رَبُّكَ ؕ اِنَّ رَبَّكَ فَعَّالٌ لِّمَا يُرِيۡدُ
“‘i.e., they will dwell in hell for eternity, but this eternity should not be confused with God’s eternity, it only means a long period of time after which His mercy will intervene, for He is the Almighty and does what He wills. [Surah Hud, Ch.11: V.108] This verse has been explained in a Hadith where our lord and master, the Holy Prophetsa, says:
يأتي علٰي جهنّم زمانٌ ليس فيها احدٌ ونسيم الصّبا تحرّك أبوابها
“‘i.e., a time shall come upon hell when no one will be left in it, and its gates shall be moved to and fro by the morning breeze.
“‘But the Aryas present God as a rancorous and unforgiving being whose fury is never appeased and who does not forgive sins even after putting the souls through the cycle of transmigration for billions of years. […]
“‘Further proof of the falsity of the concept of transmigration is that it is contrary to the true moral and ethical values. For instance, when a man takes a woman for his wife, how can he be sure that she is not his mother or sister or granddaughter who might have died earlier on? Would such a person not be breaking the Vedic law by contracting such a marriage? Such a situation could be avoided if every child was born with a written record of its parentage in its past lives, but since no such arrangement has apparently been made by Parmeshwar, would one not be justified in believing that He Himself desires to spread such evil?
“‘We also find it difficult to understand what the transmigration of souls is really meant to achieve. Salvation — mukti — undoubtedly depends upon God-realisation — gayan — and if this is what transmigration is meant to achieve, then why is it that a soul loses all the stock of knowledge and awareness it has so laboriously earned in its past lives, and without which there can be no question of salvation. We see that every child comes into the world utterly devoid of knowledge, just like a spendthrift who has squandered away all his fortune and finds himself penniless. Even if one has read the Vedas a thousand times in his previous life, he will not remember even a page of it. It is hard to see how a soul can ever be delivered from the cycle of transmigration when it keeps losing all its stock of knowledge and awareness acquired in its past lives.
“‘The souls are indeed ill-fated, for they do not only lack God-realisation — gayan — to become deserving of salvation, but, according to the Arya belief, their salvation also lasts a short period of time after which they are thrown back into the cycle of transmigration.’ (Lecture Lahore, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 20, pp. 170-172)”
Prophethood after the Promised Messiahas
Someone from Egypt inferred something from the following verses of the Holy Quran:
سُنَّةَ اللّٰهِ فِي الَّذِيۡنَ خَلَوۡا مِنۡ قَبۡلُ ۚ وَلَنۡ تَجِدَ لِسُنَّةِ اللّٰهِ تَبۡدِيۡلًا
[Such has been the way of Allah (in the case of) those who passed away before, and thou wilt never find a change in the way of Allah. (Surah al-Ahzab, Ch.33: V.63)]
فَهَلۡ يَنۡظُرُوۡنَ اِلَّا سُنَّتَ الۡاَوَّلِيۡنَ ۚ فَلَنۡ تَجِدَ لِسُنَّتِ اللّٰهِ تَبۡدِيۡلًا ۬ۚ وَلَنۡ تَجِدَ لِسُنَّتِ اللّٰهِ تَحۡوِيۡلً
[Do they then look for anything but (God’s) way of (dealing with) the peoples of old? But thou wilt never find any change in the way of Allah; nor wilt thou ever find any alteration in the way of Allah. (Surah al-Fatir, Ch.35: V.44)]
The person then wrote his conclusions to Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa, stating that some of God’s laws were categorical and permanent, including God’s law of sending independent or subordinate prophets. He then asked whether a law-bearing prophet, like Hazrat Musaas or the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa, could come 622 years after the advent of the Promised Messiahas or, if Islam was the ultimate religion, could a non-legislative prophet, or a caliph of the Promised Messiahas, become a follower prophet of him?
Huzoor-e-Anwaraa, in his letter dated 9 September 2021, gave the following reply to this question:
“First of all, your argument, that God Almighty’s sunnah of sending independent or subordinate prophets was categorical and eternal, cannot be inferred from the verses of the Holy Quran you have quoted and inferred this from.
In the verses of Surah al-Ahzab, Allah is talking about the defeat and destruction of the opponents of Islam, especially the hypocrites, against the Muslims. Then, He states that that was His sunnah which had been in operation in favour of the earlier divine communities too and would continue to be so, i.e. the hypocrites and other opponents of Islam would be humiliated and disgraced and the followers of Islam would be granted success.
“As for the verses of Surah al-Fatir, they discuss the following theme: Before the advent of a prophet, people make many tall claims that if a warner from God came to them, they would surely become more guided than the people before them. However, when God sends a messenger to them, they collude against him, arrogantly reject him and plot against him in every possible way. Under such circumstances, Allah the Exalted also instigates his other sunnah against those opponents and causes them to utterly fail by calling down various punishments upon them. Then, He exalts his messengers with His succour and ultimate victory.
“Thus, the conclusion you are drawing from these verses is incorrect. However, we do believe that whenever a prophet or a reformer was needed for the guidance and reformation of the world, Allah the Exalted, out of His mercy for humankind, certainly sent prophets or reformers. That mercy will continue to descend in the future, but He alone knows best how His mercy will be manifested.
“When we seek guidance on this issue from the Holy Quran and the ahadith of our lord and master, the Holy Prophet Muhammad, the chosen one, peace be upon him, we find that Huzoorsa has given the glad tiding of the establishment of a caliphate on the precepts of prophethood [Khilafah ‘ala Minhaj an-Nubuwwah] twice in his ummah. He said that this blessing would be lifted after having been established for the first time, but after giving the glad tiding of this blessing’s re-establishment for the second time, he kept silent. It can be deduced from this, that this blessing shall then last until the Day of Resurrection. (Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Vol. 6, Musnad Nu’man ibn Bashir, Hadith 18596, Beirut: ‘Alam Al Kotob, 1998, p. 285)
“Moreover, the Promised Messiahas, the most ardent devotee of the Holy Prophetsa and the Just Arbiter [Hakam ‘Adl] of the current age, after having been informed by God Almighty, has argued from various verses of the Holy Quran, the ahadith of the Holy Prophetsa and the history of other religions, that the lifespan of the human race was seven thousand years; the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa was sent in the fifth millennium and we were passing through the seventh millennium of this dispensation. Hence, Huzooras states:
“‘But the Holy Quran tells us that God is the Eternal Creator Who, if He so wills, may destroy the heaven and earth billions of times and create them anew just as before. God has informed us that the present human race originated from Adam, our common ancestor who came after the previous ‘races’, and this human race has an age of seven thousand years, and that these seven thousand years are to God just as seven days are to man. It has been decreed by the Divine law that every ‘race’ has a lifespan of seven thousand years, and it is to highlight this fact that the seven days have been ordained for man. Thus, the time ordained for the children of Adam is seven thousand years, five of which had already passed by the time of our Holy Prophetsa, as shown by the numerical value of the words of Surah Al-‘Asr. By now six thousand years of this era have gone and a thousand years remain. It has been prophesized, not only by the Holy Quran but by many earlier scriptures, that the last Messenger who will appear in the likeness of Adam, and will be named the Messiah, will appear at the end of the sixth millennium, just as Adam was born towards the end of the sixth day. All these signs should suffice for a man of understanding.
“‘According to the Holy Quran and other Divine scriptures, the seven millenniums have been further divided as follows: First millennium: for the spread of guidance and virtue. Second millennium: for dominance of Satan. Third millennium: for the spread of guidance and virtue. Fourth millennium: for the dominance of Satan. Fifth millennium: for the spread of virtue (this was the millennium in which our lord and master the Holy Prophetsa appeared for the reformation of mankind and Satan was put in shackles). Sixth millennium: for the release and dominance of Satan (this millennium extends from the end of the third century of the Islamic era to the beginning of the fourteenth). Seventh millennium: for the supremacy of God and His Messiah, spread of virtue and faith and righteousness, establishment of the Unity of God and Divine worship, and dominance of every virtue.
“‘We are now at the head of the seventh millennium and there is no room for any other Messiah to come after this, because there are only seven millennia that have all been divided into good and evil. All Prophets have spoken of this division whether in passing or in detail. But the Holy Quran has mentioned it very clearly, and from this we deduce the prophecy about the Promised Messiah.
“‘It is indeed remarkable that all Prophets, in one way or the other, have foretold about the time of the Messiah and the mischief of the Antichrist. In fact, no other prophecy has been made so frequently and with such consistency.’ (Lecture Lahore, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 20, pp. 184-186)”
“In another place, he writes:
“‘[…] the scriptures of all the Prophets(as) as well as the Holy Quran show that, from Adam to the end, God has ordained the age of the world to be seven thousand years, with a thousand year periods both for light and for darkness. In other words, there is a period for righteousness to prevail and a period in which evil and misguidance reign supreme. According to the Divine scriptures, both these epochs are divided into periods of one thousand years each. The first of these periods was dominated by guidance during which there was no sign of idol-worship. This was followed by another period, also lasting a thousand years, in which all kinds of idol-worship took root and Shirk became rampant and spread in every land. In the third millennium, the foundation of Tauhid was laid afresh and it spread in the world as far as God willed. Then, during the fourth millennium, darkness reappeared; the Israelites went astray and Christianity died right at its birth, as if its birth and death had taken place at the same time.
“‘Then came the fifth millennium, which was the age of guidance. The advent of our Holy Prophetsa took place in this millennium. Through him, God re-established Tauhid in the world. The mere fact that he appeared in the millennium which had been destined for guidance since eternity, is enough to prove that he was from God. This is not only my view, but all the Divine scriptures testify to it. This fact also proves the authenticity of my own claim of being the Promised Messiah, because, according to this division of periods, the sixth millennium is the time of darkness and evil. This thousand-year period starts three hundred years after the Hijrah and ends at the turn of the fourteenth century. The Holy Prophetsa had designated those belonging to the sixth millennium as Faij-e-A‘waj [The misguided horde].
“‘The seventh millennium in which we live is that of light and guidance. Since it is the last millennium, it was inevitable that the Imam of the latter days should be born at the turn of this millennium. After him, there is no Imam and no Messiah except the one who comes in his image, for in this millennium the world comes to an end as all the Prophets(as) have testified. This Imam, whom God has designated as the Promised Messiah, is the Mujaddid [Reformer] of this century as well as of the last millennium. Even the Christians and the Jews do agree that, counting from the time of Adam, the present millennium is the seventh. God has disclosed to me the time of Adam, as calculated upon the numerical values of the letters of Surah Al-‘Asr. This too proves that we are now in the seventh millennium. All Prophets(as) are in agreement that the Promised Messiah would be born at the end of the sixth millennium and make his appearance at the turn of the seventh, for he would be the last to come, as Adam was the first.’ (Lecture Sialkot, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 20, pp. 207-208)”
“Thus, this is the last millennium of that dispensation during which God sent the spiritual son and the most ardent devotee of the Holy Prophetsa, in exact accordance with his prophecies as the Promised Messiah and the Khatam al-Khulafa’. It can be deduced from the prophecies of the Holy Prophetsa and the sayings of the Promised Messiahas that, by the grace of Allah the Exalted, since this is the era of the Islamic Ahmadiyya Caliphate, established through the Promised Messiahas in the last millennium, therefore, if ever there is a need for a reformer for the reformation of the world, Allah the Exalted will raise someone from among the followers of the Promised Messiahas for that reformation, who will be the Khalifah of the time and will also be granted the status of a reformer [musleh] in addition to being a caliph, as Allah the Exalted conferred this status on Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra. Hence, while elucidating the status of that promised caliphate, he states:
“Moreover, it is not just a question of any caliphate, but a question of a promised caliphate. It is a question of a caliphate established by divine inspiration and revelation. One kind of caliphate is when God Almighty causes people to elect a caliph and then He endorses him, but this is not only such a caliphate. That is, I am not only a caliph because, on the day after the demise of Hazrat Khalifah Ira, the members of the Ahmadiyya Community gathered together and agreed on my caliphate, rather, I am also a caliph, because even before the caliphate of Khalifa Ira, the Promised Messiahas had also said, on the authority of divine inspiration [ilham], that I would become a caliph. Thus, I am not just a caliph but a promised caliph. I am not an appointee [ma’mur] but my voice is the voice of God Almighty because God Almighty gave this news through the Promised Messiahas. In other words, the position of my caliphate is between Ma’muriyyat and Khilafat. This is not an opportunity for the Ahmadiyya Community to let go and still be exonerated by God. Just as it is true that prophets do not appear every day, so it is also true that promised caliphs do not appear every day.’ (“Report Majlis-e-Mushawarat 1936” in Khitabat-e-Shura, Vol. 2, p. 18)”
(Compiled by Zaheer Ahmad Khan, Head of Records Department, Private Secretariat, London. Translated by Al Hakam)