How did Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad a.s. revive Islam? – Part I

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After all the extraordinary and remarkable works and services of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas for the revival of Islam, which were acknowledged by friend and foe alike, opponents are of the view that the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat did not revive Islam.

The Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, had prophesied about the dissensions and discords in the ummah of Islam. He said:

لَیَا تِیَنَّ عَلَی اُمَّتِی کَمَا اَتَی عَلٰی بَنِی اِسْرَائِیْلَ حَذْوَالنَّعْلِ بِالنَّعْلِ، حَتّٰی اِنْ کَانَ مِنْھُمْ مَنْ اٰتَی اُمَّہ، عَلَانِیَۃً لَکَانَ فِی اُمَّتِی مَنْ یَّصْنَعُ ذٰلِکَ وَاِنَّ بَنِی اِسْرَائِیلَ تَفَرَّقَتْ عَلَی ثِنْتَیْنِ وَسَبْعِیْنَ مِلَّۃً وَتَفْتَرِقُ اُمَّتِی عَلٰی ثَلَاثِ وَّسَبْعِیْنَ مِلَّۃِ کُلُّھُمْ فِی النَّارِ اِلَّا مِلَّۃً وَّاحِدَۃً۔ قَالُوْا مَنْ ھِیَ یَا رَسُوْلَ اﷲِ؟ قَالَ مَا اَنَا عَلَیْہِ وَاَصْحَابِی۔

“‘My ummah will go through the same stages as did the Bani [children of] Israel. The similarities will be very striking, like one shoe of a pair has to the other, so much so that if a person from among the Bani Israel committed an offence against his mother, a similar unfortunate one would also be found in my Ummah. Bani Israel split into 72 sects; my people will split into 73 sects; with the exception of one sect, all others will be bound for Hell.’ It was asked, ‘O prophet of Allah, who will be these righteous people?’ [The Holy Prophetsa] replied, ‘They will be the people who truly follow me and my Companions.’” (Jamey al-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-Iman)

On another occasion, the Holy Prophetsa said:

یُـوْشِکُ اَنْ یَأْتِیَ عَلَی النَّاسِ زَمَانٌ لَا یَبْقٰی مِنَ الْاِسْلَامِ اِلاَّ اسْمُہ وَلَا یَبْقٰی مِنَ الْقُرْآنِ اِلاَّ رَسْمُہ  مَسَاجِدُھُمْ عَامِرَۃٌ وَھِیَ خَرَابٌ مِنَ الْھُدٰی عُلَمَاؤُھُمْ شَرٌّ مَنْ تَحْتَ اَدِیْمِ السَّمَاءِ مِنْ عِنْدِھِمْ تَخْرُجُ الْفِتْنَۃُ وَفِیْھِمْ تَعُوْدُ

“A time will come when nothing will remain of Islam except its name and nothing will remain of the Quran except its script. Mosques will be full of worshippers, but as far as righteousness is concerned, they will be empty and deserted. Their religious leaders will be the worst people under Heaven and strife will issue from them and return to them [i.e. they will be the source of all the ills].” (Mishkat-ul-Masabih)

In another hadith, the Holy Prophetsa said:

تكون فِي أمتِي فزعة فَيصير النَّاس إِلَى عُلَمَائهمْ فَإِذا هم قردة وَخَنَازِير

“There will be a great fear that will come upon my Ummah. The people will go to their religious scholars but will find them as apes and swine.” (Nawadir-ul-Usul-fi-Ahadith-ir-Rasul)

The above ahadith foretell serious religious disputes and strife between the followers of Islam that would cause them to split into different sects and their respective ulema (scholars) would lead them further away from the true teachings of Islam.

On the other hand, the Holy Prophetsa also gave the following glad tiding:

اِنّ اللہ يَبْعَثُ لِهَذِهِ الْاُمّةِ عَلٰي رَأْسِ كُلّ مِائَةِ سَنَةٍ مّنْ يُجَدّدُ لَهَا دِيْنَهَا

“Verily, Allah will appoint for this ummah, at the head of every century, one who will revive its religion for it.” (Sunan Abi Daud, Kitab-ul-Malahim)

The revival of religion does not imply that the mujaddids [reformers] would abrogate or add any verse to the Holy Quran, or annul any commandment of God and introduce a new instruction in the shariah [Divine law]. It simply means that the misinterpretations of the Islamic teachings and the errors brought about in the ummah of Islam shall be removed through the efforts of mujaddids and the people will be reformed.

These meanings could be understood with help of an Arabic saying:

وجدد الثوب ای اعادہ الی اول امرہ

“The clothes were mended, i.e. restored to their original condition.” (Al-Mausu‘ah al-Bahus; See under the word: tajdid)

The Promised Messiahas said:

“Allah the Almighty promised that He would send mujaddids to revive the religion [of Islam]. Tajdid means that a cloth, which has become contaminated with dirt, is washed and cleaned, and the dirt is completely separated from it, rendering it good as new. In the same way, after a certain period of time in religion, different kinds of errors enter into beliefs and religious practices and gradually, even the basis of faith is founded on old stories and nothing stays in hand except for tales. Then, in such a situation, Allah the Almighty has promised [to the followers of] Islam through the Holy Prophetsa that at the turn of every century, He will continue to send people who will revive the religion.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 5, p. 665)

On another occasion, the Promsied Messiahas states:

“It is a matter of principle that with the passage of each century, the existing generation also leaves this world. The scholars, the huffaz of the Quran and the holy and pious people of that generation all pass away. Hence, the need arises for a person to be raised in order to revive the religion of Islam; otherwise this religion would perish if a new arrangement was not made to keep it pure in subsequent centuries. For this reason, at the turn of every century, God appoints a person who saves Islam from dying, and grants it new life, and safeguards the world from the errors, religious innovations, negligence and indolence that have crept into the people.” (The Advent of the Promised Messiah, pp. 11-12)

Today, Islam in general is no longer that Islam as it was in the time of the Holy Prophetsa. Every person’s heart feels that there has been a decline in Islam. There was a time in Islam regarding which Allah Almighty says in the Holy Quran:

رُبَمَا یَوَدُّ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا لَوۡ کَانُوۡا مُسۡلِمِیۡنَ

“Often will the disbelievers wish that they were Muslims.” (Surah al-Hijr, Ch.15: V.3)

However, today is the time when Islam is becoming the reason of everyone’s objection. Keeping non-Muslims aside, educated people among Muslims are skeptical about Islam on many issues. Some object its fundamentals, some question its moral teaching and some are reluctant to its practical application. No rational person can deny that a great change has occurred in Islam.

Moreover, the current state of Islam, which cannot even provide satisfaction to the Muslims is testimony to the fact that Islam has deteriorated at this time. Hence, the only question left is whether Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas has really presented to the world the true Islam, which not only attracts the hearts of Muslims but also the followers of other religions, and whether or not he has removed the flaws and errors that have been mixed in its pure teachings by narrow-minded and selfish mullahs.

In answer to this question, we will discuss some basic articles of Islam to show the damage it has suffered owing to the actions of the so-called Muslims and its restoration at the hands of the Promised Messiahas. Faith in Allah the Almighty holds the central and primary position in Islam and all other articles of faith and doctrines of Islam are like branches and leaves of this tree. The highest and prominent part of faith in Allah is tawhid [unity of God]:

لَا اِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللہُ

“There is none worthy of worship except Allah.”

The greatest prophet of Allah, the Holy Prophetsa spread and promulgated this uncompromising belief in the Oneness of God from the time of his Divine appointment as a messenger till he breathed his last. He was so cautious regarding the doctrine of tawhid that during his final illness, the Holy Prophetsa warned his ummah not to indulge in shirk and cursed those who had taken graves as places of worship. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Janaiz)

Allah the Almighty honoured the words of His Prophet Muhammadsa and saved his blessed tomb from being worshiped. However, nobody could have imagined that the followers of Islam and admirers of the Holy Prophetsa would go against this blessed teaching of God’s unity and lay prostrate before the shrines and graves of human beings.

A great number of Muslims are directly or indirectly involved in practices which constitute to shirk. Some of them offer prayers facing the so-called sacred places of their elders. Others declare ordinary people to be the knowers of the unseen. Several among them consider saints as partners in the attributes of God. They beseech the dead to fulfill their wishes. They sacrifice and offer it on the graves for the acceptance of prayers.

Certain people believe that their saints who have passed away are somehow alive and present. The most worrisome thing is that all the said acts of shirk are done in the name of the teachings of the Holy Quran and the Holy Prophetsa.

Someone might argue that these practices are only found in ignorant people and the ulema are against them. The fact of the matter is that many Muslims are explicitly or implicitly, knowingly or unknowingly, believing in such ideas or perform such deeds that are totally against the unity of God.

Certain sects of Islam claim that they strictly keep away from shirk and show disgust towards those who perform such acts. However, they believe that Prophet Jesusas is bodily alive in the heavens and he used to bring the physically dead to life. In this way, they attribute such qualities to a human being that are only present in God. Allah the Almighty clearly states in the Holy Quran that the dead cannot be resurrected and sent back to the earth, as God says:

وَ حَرٰمٌ عَلٰی قَرۡیَۃٍ اَہۡلَکۡنٰہَاۤ اَنَّہُمۡ لَا یَرۡجِعُوۡنَ

“And it is an inviolable law for a township which We have destroyed that they shall not return.” (Surah al-Anbiya, Ch.21: V.96)

Mentioning the dead at another place in the Holy Quran, Allah the Almighty states:

 وَ مِنۡ وَّرَآئِہِمۡ بَرۡزَخٌ اِلٰی یَوۡمِ یُبۡعَثُوۡنَ 

“And behind them is a barrier until the day when they shall be raised again.” (Surah al-Muminun, Ch.23: V.101)

A hadith of the Holy Prophetsa regarding Hazrat Jabirra also emphasises that dead people cannot physically return to the earth. The Holy Prophetsa stated, “God Almighty asked him [Hazrat Jabirra] what his wish was, so He may fulfil it?” He replied, “O Allah! My wish is to be granted life again and to be returned to the world, so that I may attain martyrdom again for Your cause.” As it was against the practice of God Almighty, He said, “I cannot do this, for the dead cannot be returned to the world.” (Sunan Al-Tirmidhi, Abwab Tafseer-ul-Quran)

Many Muslims take the words اُحۡیِ الۡمَوۡتٰی (Surah Al-e-Imran, Ch.3: V.50) literally, which are used in the Holy Quran regarding Prophet Jesusas. However, these words refer to the revival of the spiritually dead. These meanings are supported by the following verse of the Holy Quran:

یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوا اسۡتَجِیۡبُوۡا لِلّٰہِ وَ لِلرَّسُوۡلِ اِذَا دَعَاکُمۡ لِمَا یُحۡیِیۡکُمۡ

“O ye who believe! respond to Allah, and the Messenger when he calls you that he may give you [spiritual] life.” (Surah al-Anfal, Ch.8: V.25)

A large number of Muslims also believe that Prophet Jesusas used to create birds like the creation of God Almighty. However, no one has the power except Allah to create life, as God says:

وَ الَّذِیۡنَ یَدۡعُوۡنَ مِنۡ دُوۡنِ اللّٰہِ لَا یَخۡلُقُوۡنَ شَیۡئًا وَّ ہُمۡ یُخۡلَقُوۡنَ

“And those on whom they call beside Allah create not anything, but they are themselves created.” (Surah al-Nahl, Ch.16: V.21)

On another occasion, Allah Almighty states:

اَمۡ جَعَلُوۡا لِلّٰہِ شُرَکَآءَ خَلَقُوۡا کَخَلۡقِہٖ فَتَشَابَہَ الۡخَلۡقُ عَلَیۡہِمۡ ؕ قُلِ اللّٰہُ خَالِقُ کُلِّ شَیۡءٍ وَّ ہُوَ الۡوَاحِدُ الۡقَہَّارُ

“Or, do they assign to Allah partners who have created the like of His creation so that the two creations appear similar to them?’ Say, ‘Allah alone is the Creator of all things, and He is the One, the Most Supreme.’” (Surah al-Ra‘d, Ch.13: V.17)

The Promised Messiahas appeared in this world and restored the glory of God Almighty. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas announced in light of the Holy Quran that Prophet Jesusas had passed away and he used to bring the spiritually dead to life. The Promised Messiahas shattered the religious innovations and openly rejected all forms of shirk that had crept into the practices of Muslims. The Promised Messiahas states:

“The Holy Quran says that God is free from all defects and is not subject to failure or shortcoming and it is His desire that man, too, should free himself of his weaknesses by following His commandments. He says:

وَ مَنۡ کَانَ فِیۡ ہٰذِہٖۤ اَعۡمٰی فَہُوَ فِی الۡاٰخِرَۃِ اَعۡمٰی

i.e., he who has no ‘sight’ in this world and is unable to behold the Peerless One, shall also be blind in the Hereafter, and darkness shall not leave him. [Surah Bani Israil, Ch.17: V.73]

“This will happen because the faculties that enable man to behold God are given to him in this world and he who does not possess them and does not take them with him [to the Hereafter], will not be able to behold Him in that world either. In this verse, God Almighty has clearly defined the progress He expects from man and the heights he can attain by following His commandments.

“In the Holy Quran, God has given us the perfect teaching, which, if truly followed, enables us to behold Him in this very life. He says:

مَنۡ کَانَ یَرۡجُوۡا لِقَآءَ رَبِّہٖ فَلۡیَعۡمَلۡ عَمَلًا صَالِحًا وَّ لَا یُشۡرِکۡ بِعِبَادَۃِ رَبِّہٖۤ اَحَدًا

i.e., whoever desires to see God – the True Creator – in this life, should act righteously [Surah al-Kahf, Ch.18: V.111]. His actions should be free from mischief, ostentation, conceit and arrogance, and should neither be defective, nor deficient, nor contrary to one’s personal love [for God]; and should instead be imbued with sincerity and faithfulness. He should also abstain from shirk [associating partners with God] and should worship neither the sun, nor the moon, nor the stars, nor air, nor fi re, nor water, nor anything else. He should also not put his faith in the physical means as though they were God’s partners. Nor should he depend upon his own prowess, for this also amounts to idolatry – shirk. Having done everything in his power, he should consider it of no consequence and should not pride himself on his knowledge or his efforts and should think himself ignorant and worthless. His soul should always lie prostrate at the threshold of the Almighty, seeking His grace through prayer and supplication. Therefore, you should become like a thirsty and invalid person who finds a fountain of clear fresh water and tries to reach it stumbling and falling and, when he finally puts his lips to it, does not let go until he is fully satiated.

“In the Holy Quran, God describes His attributes as follows:

قُلۡ ہُوَ اللّٰہُ اَحَدٌ۔ اَللّٰہُ الصَّمَدُ۔ لَمۡ یَلِدۡ ۬ۙ وَ لَمۡ یُوۡلَدۡ۔ وَ لَمۡ یَکُنۡ لَّہٗ کُفُوًا اَحَدٌ

i.e., your God is One in His Being and in His attributes. No one is eternal and everlasting like Him, nor does anything possess attributes similar to His [Surah al-Ikhlas, Ch.112: V.2-5]. Man depends upon a teacher for his knowledge, yet his knowledge remains incomplete, but God needs no teacher, for His knowledge knows no bounds. Man depends upon the air for his hearing which is limited, but God’s hearing is inherent and unlimited. Man depends upon the light of the sun or other sources of light to see, and his sight is restricted, but God sees by His own light and His sight encompasses everything. In order to create, man is dependent upon matter and requires time, and his power of creation is confined, but God’s power of creation is not dependent upon matter or time, nor is it in any way limited. This is because all His attributes are unique like Himself, and if even one of them was flawed, they would all be considered flawed. His unity – tawhid – cannot be established unless He is seen to be peerless both in His Person and in His attributes.

“In the final part of these verses, the Holy Quran says that God is not the son of anyone, nor does He have a son. He is Self-Sufficient and has no need of a father or a son. This is the unity of God – tawhid – which the Holy Quran teaches us and this is the basis of our faith.” (Lecture Lahore, pp. 9-12)

Countless works and writings of the Promised Messiahas stress on believing in the oneness of the Almighty Allah and provide special guidance to achieve nearness to God. Throughout his life, the Promised Messiahas advised his followers in particular and other Muslims in general to stay away from even minute acts of shirk, as they would ultimately lead us away from Allah and drop us in the hands of Satan.

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