Jazib Mehmood, Student Jamia Ahmadiyya Ghana
“He will be extremely intelligent and perceptive … and will be filled with secular and spiritual knowledge.” (Tadhkirah [English translation, 2018], p. 178)
The above quote is from the prophecy of Musleh-e-Maud, the Promised Son – they are the words of Allah, revealed to the Promised Messiahas in 1886. The prophecy was regarding a special son born to the Promised Messiahas, who would greatly support the cause of the Promised Messiahas; the revival of faith and Islam.
This son was prophesied to have great qualities. Since the new world was meritocratic as opposed to aristocratic, Allah the Almighty granted the community someone who would have great merit in all spheres of knowledge; someone who would be a shining example for the community to emulate.
However, we find no such indication in the early life of Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmadra that could have explained the glorious future in store for him. Due to his fragile health and particularly poor eyesight, his education was far from satisfactory.
Instead, in the early years of his Khilafat, when he was not even 30, he wrote to a friend:
“No doubt, experience is different from knowledge and [experience] is very important without which man is deceived. But my case is the opposite. I do not have knowledge, but have a lot of experience. I was not taught, nor was I able to learn. I am not qualified in new fields of knowledge, nor am I skilled in old fields of knowledge. Whatever I have, I get directly from Allah the Almighty … Sometimes I myself do not know what I am saying but divine light just descends from the Heavens.” (Al Fazl International, 18 February 1994, Vol. 1, issue 7, p. 2)
As he grew older, it became clear that this young man possessed great talents. He wrote over 220 books and pamphlets. For nearly 52 years, he delivered speeches and lectures that have been compiled into over 26 volumes and his Friday Sermons alone make nearly 40 volumes – these numbers continue to increase as more content is added.
His 10-volume commentary, although covers only half the chapters of the Holy Quran, spans over 10,000 pages, and is incomparable in Islamic history. He also wrote a short commentary of the Holy Quran with an in-depth translation. It is a fact acknowledged by non-Ahmadis as well that his command over the Holy Quran and its commentary was unmatched by any other. (Tarikh-e-Ahmadiyyat, Vol. 8 p. 155-163)
Huzoorra made a challenge:
“Anyone – no matter what knowledge they may have or whichever religion they may follow – can raise any allegation against the Holy Quran and by the grace of Allah, I will answer [their allegation] from the same Quran. I have challenged the world again and again to compete with me in writing the deeper meanings of the Quran.” (Anwar-ul-Ulum, Vol. 13, p. 255)
Huzoorra answered allegations against the Holy Quran by orientalists like Theodor Noldek, Rev Vere, JM Rodell and Sir William Muir etc. Even literates like Carlyle were not left unanswered.
His books cut across a broad spectrum and covered the length and breadth of history, geography, religion, mysticism, economics, politics, social science, philosophy, language, medicine, contemporary issues and much more. His speeches and lectures were so riveting that his listeners sat for hours on end just to soak in the words flowing effortlessly and endlessly.
The world is unceasingly evolving to new and greater heights every day. But many religions in the world set too much store by their teachings and fail to acknowledge the import of secular knowledge, hence the supposed clash of science and religion.
Allah the Almighty teaches:
وَقُل رَّبِّ زِدْنِي عِلْمًا
“Say, ‘O my Lord, increase me in knowledge.’” (Surah Ta Ha, Ch. 20: V. 115)
Without making any distinction, Allah the Almighty has commanded man to keep increasing his knowledge. On this basis, the Holy Prophetsa advised Muslims:
طَلَبُ الْعِلْمِ فَرِيْضَةٌ عَلىٰ كُلِّ مُسْلِمِ
That is, “The acquisition of knowledge is compulsory for every Muslim.” (Ibn Majah)
The following prayer was also revealed to the Promised Messiahas:
رَبِّ أَرِنِيْ حَقَائِقَ الْأَشْيَاءِ
That is, “O Lord! Show me the reality of things.” (Tadhkirah [English translation, 2018], p. 990)
Knowledge is greatly emphasised in Islam. Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra also attached great importance to all forms of knowledge. He said,
“By the grace of God Almighty, I read books on all fields of knowledge … Sometimes, I will finish 400 page books in one night. And until now, I have read nearly 20,000 books. I had 10,000 books in my library in Qadian alone.” (Anwar-ul-Ulum, Vol. 21 p. 556)
Huzoorra emphasised literacy unremittingly. Very early on, during his Khilafat, Huzoorra said:
“There must not be any woman or man in the community who cannot read or write.” (Anwar-ul-Ulum, Vol. 2, p. 49)
Again, Huzoorra said:
“I advise friends that those who are not learned should pay attention to gaining knowledge and those to whom Allah the Almighty has given knowledge should teach others. At this time, God Almighty has granted our community a great opportunity to gain knowledge. If someone wastes this opportunity out of their negligence, then there will be no doubt of their misfortune.” (Friday Sermon, 23 June 1939, Khutbat-e-Mahmud, Vol. 20, p. 281)
In 1939, when the community gave Huzoorra a gift of 30,000 rupees, Huzoorra started a fund that would award students who took first, second and third positions in the various stages of education, and would give them a monthly allowance during their education. (Anwar-ul-Ulum, Vol. 15, pp. 435-436)
The ripple effect is still seen today. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa annually awards students from all over the world in the UK and Germany. This has led to a very high literacy rate in the community.
Huzoorra also advised students to increase their scope of study. He said:
“No student can be well-educated if his reading is not widely scoped. If he learns one book in school, he should read 10 books outside [his syllabus]. The knowledge outside [the syllabus] is real knowledge. The knowledge taught by the teacher is merely helpful for the acquisition of knowledge – it is a support; it is not that through it he gains mastery over all fields of knowledge.” (Sawaneh Fazl-e-Umar, Vol. 5, p. 153)
By the time Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister of Britain, the pervasive social mobility of the new world was striking. After the Second World War, the dynamics of business and wealth, and power somewhat changed. For the first time in history, hard work and diligent study could get you to the top. Today, knowledge is commonplace, ubiquitous and easily accessed; the prospects are infinite.
The Promised Messiahas has said:
“Knowledge is a power and courage is created through this power.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 4, p. 361)
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa, advising Jamia students in Ghana, said:
“If you can develop the habit of personal study for two hours every day, you can become a great scholar and can conquer the world.” (Al Hakam, issue 143, 11 December 2020, p. 5)
There is no doubt that Huzoorra has conquered the world. The world is yet unaware it has been conquered; unaware that the knowledge it desperately needs was provided over half a century ago.
Huzoor’s deep insights and critiques into the political and economic systems of the world and the ideologies of contemporaries like Sigmund Freud and Karl Marx could have ushered the world into a nonpareil era of enlightenment. With the advent of the Promised Messiahas, this was easily achievable.
His seminal research into Islamic history, his commentaries and solutions for the conflicts afflicting the Muslim world today could have solved many problems.
Underestimating his legacy has not been without consequences: capitalism has failed – the coronavirus has proven it; communism failed; socialism failed; democracy seems to be disintegrating; extreme cynicism in political systems and authorities; the widening gap between rich and poor and growing class antagonism has detracted society as a whole from personal growth and contentment.
When Churchill said that democracy was the worst political system ever, except for all other systems, he had not considered what his contemporary, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra, was saying on the other side of the world.
Towards the end of his time, Huzoorra stated, without affectation, “Putting my trust in the grace of God, I say that my name will always remain in the world. And even though I will die, my name will never be erased. This is God’s decision that has been taken in the Heavens. He will keep my name and my work established in the world.” (Al Fazl, 3 January 1962; Anwar-ul-Ulum, Vol. 26, p. 541)