Ahmadi Muslims point to the pure and pious life of Hazrat Ahmadas before he made any claims, as proof of his truthfulness. In response, opponents of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya assert that it is impossible to examine his early life because he lived a life of obscurity. Further, they say that one reason (God forbid) Hazrat Ahmadas was not truthful was because he said his book Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya contained 300 arguments for the truthfulness of Islam, but only a handful of arguments are to be found.
A befitting response to these allegations would be to present the following verse of the Holy Quran:
وَ اِذَا تُتۡلٰی عَلَیۡہِمۡ اٰیَاتُنَا بَیِّنٰتٍ ۙ قَالَ الَّذِیۡنَ لَا یَرۡجُوۡنَ لِقَآءَنَا ائۡتِ بِقُرۡاٰنٍ غَیۡرِ ہٰذَاۤ اَوۡ بَدِّلۡہُ ؕ قُلۡ مَا یَکُوۡنُ لِیۡۤ اَنۡ اُبَدِّلَہٗ مِنۡ تِلۡقَآیِٔ نَفۡسِیۡ ۚ اِنۡ اَتَّبِعُ اِلَّا مَا یُوۡحٰۤی اِلَیَّ ۚ اِنِّیۡۤ اَخَافُ اِنۡ عَصَیۡتُ رَبِّیۡ عَذَابَ یَوۡمٍ عَظِیۡمٍ
قُلۡ لَّوۡ شَآءَ اللّٰہُ مَا تَلَوۡتُہٗ عَلَیۡکُمۡ وَ لَاۤ اَدۡرٰٮکُمۡ بِہٖ ۫ۖ فَقَدۡ لَبِثۡتُ فِیۡکُمۡ عُمُرًا مِّنۡ قَبۡلِہٖ ؕ اَفَلَا تَعۡقِلُوۡنَ
“And when Our clear Signs are recited unto them, those who look not for the meeting with Us say, ‘Bring a Quran other than this or change it.’ Say, ‘It is not for me to change it of my own accord. I only follow what is revealed to me. Indeed, I fear, if I disobey my Lord, the punishment of an awful day.’ Say, ‘If Allah had so willed, I should not have recited it to you nor would He have made it known to you. I have indeed lived among you a whole lifetime before this. Will you not then understand?’” (Surah Yunus, Ch.10: V.16-17)
This is an argument that the Holy Quran has given to prove the truthfulness of the Holy Prophetsa and it is a great criterion for verifying the truth of every righteous person’s claim. The actual presence of the sun is an irrefutable argument of its existence. Thus, the strongest argument to prove the truthfulness of a righteous and honest person is his own self which calls out and asks the opponents and associates, strangers and acquaintances, outsiders and confidants, to look at him and before forming a judgment, think whether he can be called a liar. As, by calling him a liar, they will lose all the means by which one can find out the truth about somebody.
Everything in the world passes through gradual processes and stages. Goodness cannot reach its perfection by abandoning the intermediate stages, nor can evil reach its extremity by abandoning the middle stages. Then, how is it possible for a person running towards the west to suddenly find himself on the far side of the east? Or how can a person heading towards the south find himself standing at the North Pole?
Claimants of prophethood announce that they spent all their life amongst people; they were children who grew up in society’s hands. They were young and attained maturity before their very eyes. People are also aware of their solitude. None of their actions or promises were hidden from them. Consequently, nobody can claim that such people ever lied or wronged or deceived or beat anyone or desired any pride or governance.
Prophets proclaim that people test them in every field and observe them in every situation, but they always see their footsteps in moderation and find them free from every defect. The prophet even gets the title of amin (trustworthy) and sadiq (truthful) from their enemies and friends. Then, how can such a change take place that, one day, they become the worst of the worst? There was a time when he never lied to men and then suddenly, he supposedly began to lie in the name of Allah? Is there any precedent in the law of nature for such a change? If it was a matter of a day or two, the opponents could have said that he managed it through deceit. Even if it would have been a matter of one or two years, they could have been right in saying that he did so by cheating, but he spent his entire life with them.
Hence, opponents cannot declare it to be night, while looking at the sun and should not complain of darkness in the presence of light. What argument do they need other than his own self? Witnessing his previous chaste life, what other proof is needed? By little introspection, the heart and mind of an opponent should bear witness to the fact that a prophet’s life is a testimony to his truthfulness. His example is like the sunrise, which itself is proof of the sun’s existance.
This same undeniable argument pierced the heart of Hazrat Abu Bakrra and it has always taken root in the hearts of truthful people. When the Holy Prophetsa claimed to be the Prophet of Allah, Hazrat Abu Bakrra was visiting a friend’s house at the time. A free slave girl reported to him that his friend’s wife said that her husband had claimed to be a prophet, similar to that of Mosesas. He immediately got up and went to the house of the Holy Prophetsa and asked him about the claim. The Holy Prophetsa replied, “I am the Messenger of God.” The moment Hazrat Abu Bakrra heard him say that, he accepted him. For this reason, the Holy Prophetsa said about his faith:
“Whenever I called someone towards Islam, they always showed some reluctance, hesitation and deliberated over it. However, Abu Bakr was the only person who accepted Islam without any hesitation”. (Al-Bidaya wal-Nihaya).
So, what compelled Hazrat Abu Bakrra to believe in the Holy Prophetsa without witnessing any sign? It was indeed the pure personage of the Holy Prophetsa that was a testimony of his truthfulness. Hazrat Khadijara, Hazrat Alira and Hazrat Zaidra bin Harith also believed in the prophethood of the Holy Prophetsa in the same way.
In fact, Hazrat Khadijara mentioned the good deeds of the Holy Prophetsa as a reason for her faith. When the Holy Prophetsa saw an angel in the cave of Hira and said to her, “I am afraid for my life”, at the time, Hazrat Khadijara replied, “Do not worry! I swear by Allah that He will never disgrace you. You keep good relations with your kith and kin, shoulder the burden of helpless, support the destitute, serve your guests generously and assist the deserving calamity-afflicted ones.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Bad‘ul Wahi)
Hence, the first clear proof of the truthfulness of a prophet is his own self and his past life is so strong a testimony to his truth that no other miracle or verse is needed at the time of his claim. This same argument was sent down by Allah the Almighty to prove the truthfulness of the Promised Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas.
He was a resident of Qadian, where the followers of three different religions of India – Hinduism, Sikhism and Islam – lived. His family relations with these people were not such that they had any sympathy for him because in his early life, the country was occupied by the British and with their arrival, the people of Qadian, who were the subjects of his ancestors, took advantage of the new government and started their struggle for independence. All the townspeople began to file lawsuits against his father and disputes arose. It was not that the Promised Messiahas was isolated from these cases, but in spite of his solitude, his father had appointed him to pursue these cases for some time, which apparently made him a rival of the people.
The Sikhs of the time were especially hostile to his family because, for a while, they pushed his family out of the area and became rulers. Therefore, the progress of his family was hard on them. The Promised Messiahas had a passion for the service of Islam from an early age. Through literature and speeches, he continuously debated Christians, Hindus and Sikhs, which made the followers of these religions naturally envious of him. Despite the fact that the Promised Messiahas had relations with all religions and was opposed because of his religious interests, everyone, whether Hindu, Sikh, Christian or Muslim, admitted that his life before his claim was flawless, pure and he had a high level of moral virtues. He never gave up the truth and people’s trust and confidence in him was so high that even the enemies of his family sometimes insisted on settling those matters about which they disagreed upon by appointing Ahmadas as the judge. No matter what the decision, they used to accept it.
Hence, people well-informed about his virtuous nature trusted him in everything and acknowledged him as an epitome of truth and righteousness. Christians, Hindus and Sikhs had religious differences with him, but they admitted that his life was holy and chaste. We present an example of the opinion of the people about the Promised Messiahas from the pen of a man who later became a fierce opponent and upon his claim, he was the first to issue a fatwa-e-kufr against him.
Maulvi Muhammad Hussain Batalvi was not an ordinary person, but the leader and head of Ahl-e-Hadith. While reviewing the book Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya written by the Promised Messiahas, he testified about him in his magazine, Ishaat-us-Sunnah:
“The extent to which we are aware of the circumstances and views of the writer of Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya is such that there would perhaps be very few from among our contemporaries who are so well-informed. The writer is of the same area as ours, in fact, in our early days (when we used to read Qutbi and Sharah Mulla), he studied with us.” (Ishaat-us-Sunnah, Vol. 7, p. 176 )
This statement is related to the fact that his testimony is not unreliable as it originates from long experience and relationship with the Promised Messiahas. He further states:
“In our view, this book [Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya], at this time and considering the present circumstances, is such that so far, the like of it cannot be found in [the history of] Islam. Nothing can be said of the future:
لَعَلَّ اللّٰہَ یُحۡدِثُ بَعۡدَ ذٰلِکَ اَمۡرًا
“[‘It may be that thereafter, Allah will bring something new to pass.’ (Surah al-Talaq, Ch.65: V.2)]
“The author [of the said book] has also been so persistent in the service of Islam, with his money, life, writings, speeches and personal actions that very few parallels can be drawn among Muslims.” (Ishaat-us-Sunnah, Vol. 7, pp. 169-170)
This is the opinion of a person who was much like the people of Mecca, in that his mouth would go dry in calling the him truthful and honest; not only did he later reject his claim of Messiah, but also spent the rest of his life in disbelief, denial and opposition of the Promised Messiahas.
However, opposition aft er the claim of a prophet has no credibility as Allah the Almighty states:
وَ قَالَ الۡکٰفِرُوۡنَ ہٰذَا سٰحِرٌ کَذَّابٌ
“And the disbelievers say, ‘This is a magician, a great liar.” (Surah Saad, Ch.38: V.5)
The Holy Quran expresses that it is not possible for a person to confess his truthfulness through every friend and foe, in spite of being in the grip of opponents and enemies like a tongue in teeth, and then one day forge a lie against Allah. God Almighty is not unjust to reward a person who has confessed his flawless life even to an enemy and make him a scoundrel in a single day. Just as the Holy Prophetsa challenged his opponents to point out any flaws in his past life or whether he was immoral and that he did not have an exceptionally high moral life and no one came up against him, the Promised Messiahas too claimed that Allah the Almighty had told him that no opponent would ever be able to tarnish his reputation. The Promised Messiahas said:
“People regard and have faith in the exhortations of men according to the measure of their piety and righteousness. Now ponder over how God has furnished thousands of signs in support of my claim so that you may determine and judge the truth and the calibre of him who is inviting you to this Jamaat and that you may weigh his spiritual worth and weigh his arguments. You cannot point out any moral slips and weakness in my life, nor have I ever indulged in fraud or deceit so that you may have cause to suspect my integrity. Is there anyone among you who can point out shortcomings and weaknesses in my life? It was the blessing of God that made me tread the path of righteousness from the very beginning. This is a sign for those who contemplate.” (Tadhkira-tul-Shahadatain, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 20, p. 64)
On another occasion, the Promised Messiahas states:
“It was around 1884 that God vouchsafed to me the revelation:
ولقَدْ لَبِثْتُ فِيكُمْ عُمُرًا مِّن قَبْلِهِ۔ أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ
“[‘I have lived a whole lifetime among you before this, then do you not understand?’].
“This was an indication on behalf of God the All-Knowing, that no opponent of mine would be able to point to any default in my life. Accordingly, up until now, when I am about 65 years of age, no one, whether living close to me or far, can point to any stain in my past life. Indeed God Himself has made my opponents bear witness to the purity of my past life. For instance, Maulvi Muhammad Hussain has, on many occasions, praised me and members of my family in his journal Ishaat-us-Sunnah and has claimed that no one is better acquainted with me and my family than him. Then, to the extent that he understood, he praised me. In this way, an opponent, who became the originator of my condemnation as a non-believer, has confirmed the truth of the prophecy,
ْولقَدْ لَبِثْتُ فِيكُمْ.”
(Nuzul-ul-Masih, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 18, p. 590)
According to the above claim, the Promised Messiahas repeatedly challenged his opponents to speak out against his holy conduct or to prove that they did not consider his conduct from childhood to old age to be of high and exemplary levels. In spite of repeated incitement of opponents, no one spoke against him. On the other hand, despite strong opposition, they could not hide the fact that the conduct of the Promised Messiahas was astonishingly high and, according to many Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims, his childhood and youth was a picturesque representation of Godly people.
Hence, just as the Holy Prophet’ssa past life was a great proof of his truthfulness, which Allah the Almighty has presented in the Holy Quran as an argument before the opponents, in the same way, the early life of the Promised Messiahas is a proof of his truth, which no one can deny. The above brief descriptions dispel the objection of the opponents that the Promised Messiahas lived a life of obscurity.
[In Part II, we will explain the circumstances that led to the publishing of only the first few pages of Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, while the rest of the pages, containing scores of arguments in favour of Islam, were lost and burnt in an accident]