Was the Promised Messiahas doubtful regarding his prophecies?
An allegation is raised by opponents of the Jamaat and Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiahas against an announcement of 18 April 1905. In this announcement, the Promised Messiahas stated that Allah had foretold him on 9 April 1905 regarding the occurrence of yet another earthquake, which would be an example of Judgment Day and extremely terrifying. He expressed that as the All-Knowing God twice vouchsafed him the news of the incident which would be remembered till Judgement Day, its occurrence was not too far and that Allah had said that these two earthquakes would be a proof of his truth, resembling the signs of Mosesas which he showed to the Pharaoh or the signs of Noahas which he showed to his people.
He clarified that the occurrence of signs would not stop after the said two signs, but in fact they would occur one after the other until the time when people would become anxious as to how it happened. Each day would be worse and more extreme than the previous. Allah said that He would cause to appear astonishing occurrences and would not stop until people reformed themselves. A similar catastrophe to the age of Prophet Josephas when even the leaves of trees were not left to eat would befall here.
Huzooras further stated that as Josephas saved the lives of people with stocked provisions, similarly Allah had made him responsible for spiritual provision and whosoever would take this provision with a righteous heart and to the best of their capacity, God would surely shower His mercy upon them.
Opponents claim that the prophecies mentioned in the announcement were not fulfilled. They assert that the founder of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat slept in his orchard for almost two and half months but the earthquake never occurred and he was forced to come back to his house. Moreover, they point out that the Promised Messiahas advised people to refrain from residing in multiple-storey buildings because an earthquake could occur which also shows, according to opponents, that the earthquake did not occur.
The Jamaat’s claim, however, is that the prophecies regarding the earthquakes foretold by the Promised Messiahas were not only fulfilled in his lifetime but even after his demise. The details of these occurrences have already been mentioned in previous articles in the Responding to Allegations series. However, if someone questions, owing to the prophecy of an earthquake, as to why the Promised Messiahas left his house while he was promised that his house would be saved from the catastrophe, what reason was there for residing in the orchard and whether Huzooras was doubtful regarding his prophecies, then pondering over the Holy Quran, we find that Allah states:
لَهُ مُعَقِّبَاتٌ مِّن بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِ يَحْفَظُونَهُ مِنْ أَمْرِ اللّٰهِ
“For him [the Messenger] is a succession of angels before him and behind him; they guard him by the command of Allah” (Surah al-Ra‘d, Ch.13: V.12). This verse of Surah al-Ra‘d was revealed in Mecca in which the Holy Prophetsa was promised divine safety. In spite of this promise of safety, the Holy Prophetsa came up with a plan during migration and took refuge in the cave of Thawr. During battles, the Holy Prophetsa used a casque and chainmail armour. Although the Holy Prophetsa was injured during battles – once he lost his blessed teeth, his face was wounded and the casque covering his head was broken (Sahih al-Muslim, Kitab ul Jihad wa al-Siyar) – still, his life was saved according to the promise of Allah.
Hazrat Umarra was once going to Syria in his era of Khilafat when he reached a place called Surgh. He was told that the country of Syria was experiencing an outbreak of plague. He discussed the matter with his companions, upon which he decided to go back instead of advancing. When objections were raised against this decision, Hazrat Umarra said:
نفر من قدر الله الی قدر الله
“We are escaping from one divine decree of Allah to another divine decree Allah” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kita al-Tib). Thus, he came back to Medina from that place.
The Promised Messiahas was at his house when the earthquake of 4 April 1905 occurred and Allah the Almighty saved him and his family in accord with His promise:
اِنِّيْ اُحَافِظُ كُلَّ مَنْ فِي الدَّارِ
“I shall safeguard all those who are in this house” (Al Hakam, 10-17 June 1904, p. 10). However, when the tremors of the earthquake weakened, the Promised Messiahas, along with several associates, moved to his orchard and resided there for some days (Siratul-Mahdi, Vol. 1, pp. 23-24).
A series of aftershocks continue after an earthquake takes place, therefore it is necessary to take precautions. In the month of April of 1905, various areas of the country experienced aftershocks. On 11 April 1905, Shimla was struck by a severe aftershock (Al Hakam, 10 May 1905, p. 10).
Likewise, a weekly newspaper, Ahl-e-Hadith, which was published from Amritsar by an opponent of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat, Maulvi Sanaullah Amritsari, stated on 12 May 1905:
“The Daily Times newspaper of 3 May indicates that Shimla [which is about 300 kilometres away from Qadian] constantly experienced the aftershocks of an earthquake during the past week. At times, the rumble of a train is heard. Formation of cracks on the earth’s surface is a daily occurrence in Palampur [which is a green Hill Station of Himachal Pradesh and lies almost 181 kilometres away from Qadian]. A snowy mountain shows up miles away and begins to tremble due to the earthquake.” (Ahl-e-Hadith, Amritsar, 12 May 1905, p. 11)
After the earthquake of 4 April 1905, the Promised Messiahas was foretold by Allah that earthquakes would continue to occur. Hence, the Promised Messiahas states:
“In the days when the earthquake of 4 April 1905 struck, I had been told by God Almighty that it was not just one earthquake and there would be more earthquakes. This is why, by way of precaution, I, along with my family members and most of my Jamaat members, shifted to the garden and stayed there in two marquees in a large open ground.” (The Philosophy of Divine Revelation, p. 352 [English Translation of Haqiqatul Wahi])
The Promised Messiahas further states:
“It is feared that a triple-storey building would collapse due to a severe earthquake, thus following the order of Shariah [divine law], we came out in the open from a dangerous place for our safety and the earthquake is such that it can still be felt. Allah inspired my heart to move to an open place. Although it was prohibited to leave the house during the outbreak of plague, but for an earthquake, the Almighty Allah stimulated my heart [to come out] and it was a source of great benefit and solace for us.” (Al Badr, 13 April 1905, p. 2)
The Promised Messiahas states regarding his stay in the orchard:
“During the earthquake, we moved to the orchard in order to pray. Presently, we have only prolonged our stay to become aware about the [other] prophecy of Allah, whether it is near or far. If it is known that there is still some time, then we will go back after a month. It appears that this earthquake will occur suddenly and nobody will be aware of it. In fact, people will deny me and will say that this prophecy turned out to be false.” (Al Hakam, 10 May 1905, p. 8)
As far as those instructions are concerned that the Promised Messiahas cautioned people to refrain from residing in multi-storey buildings and to carry out precautionary measures, it should be kept in mind that the Promised Messiahas was a prophet of God and Allah states about prophets and messengers:
إِنَّا كُنَّا مُرْسِلِينَ رَحْمَةً مِّن رَّبِّكَ ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
“Verily, We have ever been sending Messengers, as a mercy from thy Lord. Verily, He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing” (Surah al-Dukhan, Ch.44: V.6-7). Accordingly, the Promised Messiahas not only warned people regarding the occurrence of God’s torment but also guided them as to how they could save themselves from it.
Firstly, one apparent precaution given by the Promised Messiahas was that people should avoid residing in multi-storey buildings in order to save themselves from the torment of Allah.
The Promised Messiahas states:
“I say this out of sympathy that if someone avoids residing in multi-storey houses which are double- or triple-storey, then there is a possibility of being saved [from the catastrophe].” (Majmua Ishtiharat, Vol. 3, p. 536)
At one place, the Promised Messiahas states:
“Alas! These people do not fear God. They have piles and piles of filth in their hearts. They follow the Jews and the Christians. The Christians used to say that already there was a prophecy about the victory of the Holy Prophetsa, then why did he wage war and why did he kill the enemy through different means. Similar allegations are being raised by these people of today … They do not understand that it is not forbidden to carry out reasonable precautions with regard to prophecies. If someone receives a glad tiding from Allah that a certain sick person will recover, then it is not forbidden to prescribe a medicine for that person as it might be possible that his recovery is destined through that medicine. Thus, such precaution might be forbidden in the eyes of Christians and Jews, but not in Islam.” (Ijaz-e-Ahmadi, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 19, p. 118)
Allah had already promised to the Holy Prophetsa that he would triumph over his enemy, but in spite of this promise, the Holy Prophetsa fought battles and used swords, spears, shields and body armor.
The Promised Messiahas states:
“God has not declared any attempts at the fulfilment of prophecies to be unlawful. Do you not even remember the Hadith in which it is written that Hazrat Umarra made a companion of Holy Prophetsa wear gold bangles with a view to fulfilling a prophecy? And there is also a Hadith that says that if you see a dream or a vision, and you can yourself make it come true, then try to make it come true by your own efforts.” (The Philosophy of Divine Revelation, p. 577 [English Translation of Haqiqatul Wahi])
Secondly, the Promised Messiahas presented a spiritual precaution so that people could save themselves from the torment of Allah. He advised them to offer charity, abstain from sins, repent and seek forgiveness from Allah.
Allah has not made it obligatory to have firm belief in Him to save oneself from His torment, but rather seeking forgiveness is enough. As it is stated in the Holy Quran:
وَمَا كَانَ اللّٰهُ مُعَذِّبَهُمْ وَهُمْ يَسْتَغْفِرُونَ
“Allah would not punish them while they sought forgiveness” (Surah al-Anfal, Ch.8: V.34). Allah has said that He would not punish them “while they sought forgiveness” and it is not stated here that He would not punish them if they believe only.
Allah even saves that person from His torment regarding whom He knows that after temporarily seeking forgiveness, they would return to their previous condition. Hence, Allah states regarding the non-believers that they say:
رَّبَّنَا اكْشِفْ عَنَّا الْعَذَابَ إِنَّا مُؤْمِنُونَ
“Then will the people cry: ‘Our Lord, remove from us the torment; truly, we are believers’” (Surah al-Dukhan, Ch.44: V.13). In response to this, Allah says:
إِنَّا كَاشِفُو الْعَذَابِ قَلِيلًا ۚ إِنَّكُمْ عَائِدُونَ
“We shall remove the punishment for a little while, but you will certainly revert to disbelief” (Surah al-Dukhan, Ch.44: V.16). This verse clearly shows that Allah delays His torment when a person seeks forgiveness, knowing that he would revert to his old hypocritical and deceitful nature.
Allah states at another place in the Holy Quran:
وَإِذَا مَسَّ الْإِنسَانَ الضُّرُّ دَعَانَا لِجَنبِهِ أَوْ قَاعِدًا أَوْ قَائِمًا فَلَمَّا كَشَفْنَا عَنْهُ ضُرَّهُ مَرَّ كَأَنْ لَّمْ يَدْعُنَا إِلَىٰ ضُرٍّ مَّسَّهُ ۚ كَذَلِكَ زُيِّنَ لِلْمُسْرِفِيْنَ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
“And when affliction befalls a man, he calls Us, lying on his side or sitting, or standing; but when We relieve him of his distress, he walks away as if he had never beseeched Us to attend to the misery afflicting him. Thus it is that the doings of the extravagant are given a fair appearance in their eyes.” (Surah Yunus, Ch.10: V.13)
In the coming verses of the same Surah, Allah states:
“He it is Who enables you to journey through land and sea until, when you are on board the ships and they sail with them with a fair breeze and they rejoice in it, there overtakes them a ferocious wind and the waves come on them from every side and they think they are encompassed, then they call upon Allah, promising sincerity of faith for Him, saying, ‘If Thou deliver us from this, we will surely be of the thankful. But when He has delivered them, lo! They begin to commit excesses in the earth wrongfully.” (Surah Yunus, Ch.10: V.23-24)
It is evident from the Holy Quran that whenever God sent his torment on Pharaoh and his nation, they would say:
وَقَالُوا يَا أَيُّهَ السَّاحِرُ ادْعُ لَنَا رَبَّكَ بِمَا عَهِدَ عِندَكَ إِنَّنَا لَمُهْتَدُوْنَ ۔فَلَمَّا كَشَفْنَا عَنْهُمُ الْعَذَابَ إِذَا هُمْ يَنكُثُونَ
“And they said, ‘O thou magician, pray for us to thy Lord, according to the covenant He has made with thee: for, then we will surely accept guidance.’ But when We removed the punishment for them, behold! they broke their word” (Surah al-Zukhruf, Ch.43: V.50-51).
These verses signify that the mercy of Allah is so vast that even though He knew that the Pharaoh and his nation would revert to their previous state and even when they did not directly ask Mosesas to pray for their forgiveness, He delayed His torment and continued to forgive them whenever they would seek forgiveness.
Thus, it is comprehensively proven from the above mentioned arguments that a prophet is not in any kind of doubt regarding his prophecies, but in fact he is eager and anxious for his people to save them from the torment and anguish of Allah by seeking forgiveness and he does everything within his power and reach to caution them.
(Research conducted by a panel of scholars at the Research Cell, Rabwah. Translated by Al Hakam)