Chaudhry Zahur Hussain BA
قُلۡ اَعُوۡذُ بِرَبِّ الۡفَلَقِ۔ مِنۡ شَرِّ مَا خَلَقَ۔ وَمِنۡ شَرِّ غَاسِقٍ اِذَا وَقَبَ۔
“Say I seek refuge in the Lord of the dawn, from the evil of what He has created, and from the evil of the utterly dark night, when it comes.” (Surah al-Falaq, Ch.113: V.2-4)
Cast a cursory glance over the natural world and ponder over the everyday phenomena occurring around you. Day and night, light and darkness, pursue each other in a cyclic order. Summer and winter follow each other. If the drought and the dog days scorch the earth’s face, the monsoons roar and thunder over-solicitously to water it forthwith. This law is a constant order among the phenomena of nature and must go on until and unless the Author of the universe wills it otherwise. Time is fleeting, or man is pushed forward and never allowed to stop, hence the inevitable change, that overwhelms him at every step. Nay, everything moves according to a given law within certain periods, and there are actions and reactions throughout all of nature.
God is One, and He likes oneness in all His physical as well as spiritual systems. The law that governs the visible side of life is the same law that governs the invisible side. The operation of the law in the realm of physics is visible to the physical eye, while that in the realm of metaphysics is discernible to the inward intellectual eye. In the spiritual world of man too, there are days and nights, summers and winters, droughts and rainy seasons, which follow one another with the same regularity as in the physical world. The whole universe is an unfoldment from the homogeneous to the heterogeneous and back to the homogeneous again, and these respective periods, in the words of Herbert Spencer, are “alternate eras of evolution and dissolution.”
When there is no sun in the spiritual world, the spirit of man finds its pulsation growing fainter and fainter. There being no magnetiser, the grip of faith gets loosened. Darkness prevails all over the spiritual aspects of life and a mist of doubts and misgivings enshrouds the articles of belief. The formula of the unity of God as well as His existence, the life after death and the accountability of actions, are considered nothing more than myths and superstitious beliefs of the lower classes of people. Angels are believed to be only the faculties of Man, or the properties of elements. The efficacy of prayer is derided and thought to be only a forced consolation for an afflicted heart. Divine revelation and communion with God become things of the past and were no longer required for the scientifically enlightened generation of the time. Mysticism, scepticism, agnosticism, atheism, and so-called spiritualism replace the true faith, and religion is completely metamorphosed into an accursed superstition. Countless sects, holding abominable doctrines, spring up like mushrooms. Perverted views of religion on the one hand and obstinate irreligion on the other, have but a devilish effect on the actions of men. Vice, covetousness, self-conceit, vanity, ostentation, etc. reign supreme. Unbridled love of earthly means and an insatiable thirst for wealth and power are the rules of the day. In fact, the spiritual life of man is affected by the leprosy of mischief and earthliness.
But thank God, this spiritual and moral decay is not destined to last forever, and therefore it is no matter of disappointment. The very moment at which obscuration attains its highest pitch marks the turning point and is consequently the most important stage in the history of religion. It is at this critical moment that preparations are made by the Great Lord of the dawn to cause a spiritual sun to rise. When the world is enveloped in the pitchy darkness of sin and the ways of righteousness, purity and truthfulness are hidden from the eye of the spiritual wayfarer, the Creator of the universe condescends to manifest His face to the world, through a spiritual Revivalist, endowed with powers to reclaim the world from the evils into which it had fallen, and to re-establish upon earth the faith, that had vanished from its face. He restores religion to its original purity, and removes the prevailing errors in doctrine and practice. He radiates the life-force, which thrills the drowsy spirits into activity and brings about a spiritual transformation.
This particular hour, which is the connecting link between the darkness and the dawn, is named in the Holy Quran as Lailatul-Qadr (i.e., the grand night or the night of majesty) or Lailatin-Mubarakatin (i.e., the blessed night). As in this darkness comes a blessing from on high in the shape of a Divine messenger, this night is a blessed and majestic night. “Every wise affair is made distinct in it” (Surah ad-Dukhan, Ch.44: V.5-6), because it is during the time of a prophet’s advent that true wisdom is distinctly established.
I would now like to request that the reader look at the present condition of the world. Is not the world, as a whole, involved in vice and error? There are countless religions, all of which are further split up into numberless sects. There is much ado about society, and national considerations solely occupy the hearts, which are totally devoid of every impression of the glory and majesty of God. Men are known as Christians, Muslims, or Hindus because they are born to parents professing such creeds; otherwise, religion has no hold upon their hearts. Society, nationality, and material progress are all-in-all to them. The daily programme of human life today is such that man is altogether taken up by the world. Divine revelation and communion with God are not only unknown to the world today but are considered to have been withheld from mankind forever. Spirituality, which is the root of religion, has vanished, and nothing remains in the hands of its followers except vapid words and legendary tales. Religion, which is a proof against error, which is an absolute truth, which is bound up with the electrifying personality of an examplar, and which is continually being nurtured on the pure milk of the Divine Word, is a hermetically sealed book for the world today. In short, the present condition of the world is really what has been described above as the characteristic of the spiritual night.
Now, I should ask the right-thinking readers: “Has the Lord of the universe, Who has been bringing day after every night and sending down rain after every drought to restore to life the earth after it has been dead, forsaken His law in this age?”
No, certainly not. The eternal and unchangeable God is even now as He was in the past ages, and His wonderful powers are the same as they were ere now. Know for certain that since men are apt to forget and be remiss in acting upon moral injunctions and religious precepts that are revealed to them through a prophet, a new prophet is required after some time to re-establish the same principles and make men act upon them. Every new age stands in need of a new reformer and a new magnetiser: a glaring fact, that no one could deny in the face of the past history of all the big religions of the world.
The writer of this article has the honour and delight to convey to the reader the gladsome news that this age has not been deprived of this blessing and that God has, out of His grace, sent to the world a spiritual Revivalist. The imminence of his time-honoured appearance, the authenticity of his claims and the truth of his teachings, will be the subject of our subsequent issues. The truth-loving people must go through them to own the ever-shining truth. The attention of the Christian public is particularly invited, as our hero claims to be the Promised Messiah, in whose person the prophecies about the long-looked-for advent of Jesus Christ have been fulfilled.
رَبَّنَاۤ اِنَّنَا سَمِعۡنَا مُنَادِيًا يُّنَادِيۡ لِلۡاِيۡمَانِ اَنۡ اٰمِنُوۡا بِرَبِّکُمۡ فَاٰمَنَّا ٭ۖ رَبَّنَا فَاغۡفِرۡ لَنَا ذُنُوۡبَنَا وَکَفِّرۡ عَنَّا سَيِّاٰتِنَا وَتَوَفَّنَا مَعَ الۡاَبۡرَارِ
“Our Lord, we have heard a Crier calling us unto faith, ‘Believe ye in your Lord,’ and we have believed. Our Lord, forgive us, therefore, our errors and remove from [us] our evils, and in death number us with the righteous.” (Surah Al-e-Imran: Ch.3: V.194)
(Transcribed and edited by Al Hakam from the original in The Review of Religions [English], May and June 1923)