Raziullah Noman, Canada
An allegation raised against Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas – the Promised Messiah and Mahdi – is that he received a revelation in favour of Mir Abbas Ali, who later apostatised the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat and became an opponent of Islam Ahmadiyyat.
A similar allegation is also raised against the Prophet Muhammadsa. This is a common trend with the allegations against Hazrat Ahmadas – they were raised by disbelievers in the past against the prophets of their time.
About this particular allegation, Muslim scholars agree that the revelations regarding the condition of a person refer to that specific time. However, if that person turns his back to the religion then he would be considered a wrongdoer. We have many examples of this in Islamic history.
There was a person named Ubaidullah who was married to Umm Habibara. He was among the foremost Muslims (sabiqun al-awalun) and Allah stated He was pleased with him. However, when he went to Abyssinia, he became Christian and died a Christian – he apostatised Islam. Hazrat Umm Habibara later married the Prophet Muhammadsa. It is narrated:
وَفِيهِمْ صهره زوج ابْنَته أم حَبِيبَة وَهُوَ عبد اللّٰه بن جحش فَإِنَّهُ كَانَ أسلم وَهَاجَر إِلَى الْحَبَشَة وَمَات على نصرانيته وَتزَوج النَّبِي صلى اللّٰه عَلَيْهِ وَسلم أم حَبِيبَة بعده
“And among them is his son-in-law, the husband of Umm Habibara, and he is Abdullah bin Jahsh. He embraced Islam and emigrated to Abyssinia and died as a Christian and then the Prophet Muhammadsa married Umm Habibara after this.” (Umdatul Qari, Vol. 18, p. 145)
According to the logic of the anti-Ahmadis, he couldn’t become an apostate because Allah the Almighty had already revealed regarding him that Allah was pleased with him and he was pleased with Allah.
Then we have the famous incident of Abdullah bin Abi Sarah who was a katib-e-wahi (recorder of divine words revealed to the Prophetsa) but later left the religion of Islam. However, before his death, he did return to Islam. Regarding him, it is narrated in the commentary of Imam Fakhruddin al-Razirh:
رَوَى الْكَلْبِيُّ عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ رَضِيَ اللّٰه عَنْهُمَا أَنَّ عَبْدَ اللّٰه بْنَ سَعْدِ بْنِ أَبِي سَرْحٍ كَانَ يَكْتُبُ هَذِهِ الْآيَاتِ لِرَسُولِ اللّٰه صَلَّى اللّٰه عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَلَمَّا انْتَهَى إِلَى قَوْلِهِ تَعَالَى خَلْقاً آخَرَ عَجِبَ مِنْ ذَلِكَ فَقَالَ فَتَبارَكَ اللّٰهُ أَحْسَنُ الْخالِقِينَ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللّٰه صَلَّى اللَّه عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ اكْتُبْ فَهَكَذَا نَزَلَتْ فَشَكَّ عَبْدُ اللّٰه وَقَالَ إِنْ كَانَ مُحَمَّدٌ صَادِقًا فِيمَا يَقُولُ فَإِنَّهُ يُوحَى إِلَيَّ كَمَا يُوحَى إِلَيْهِ، وَإِنْ كَانَ كَاذِبًا فَلَا خَيْرَ فِي دِينِهِ فَهَرَبَ إِلَى مَكَّةَ
فَقِيلَ إِنَّهُ مَاتَ عَلَى الْكُفْرِ، وَقِيلَ إِنَّهُ أَسْلَمَ يَوْمَ الْفَتْحِ
“Kalbi narrates it on the authority of Ibn Abbas, may peace be upon him, that Abdullah bin Abi Sarah used to jot down verses of the Holy Quran; i.e, the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, would direct him to write down the verses as they were revealed to him. And so, once when the Holy Prophetsa dictated to him the verse that ends with خَلْقًا آخَرَ [‘another creation’], Abdullah marvelled and said:
فَتَبَارَكَ اللّٰهُ أَحْسَنُ الْخَالِقِينَ
“[‘So blessed be Allah, the Best of creators’]. The Holy Prophet, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, then said, ‘Write this down as well, for God has also revealed the same words that have issued from your tongue, namely:
فَتَبَارَكَ اللّٰهُ أَحْسَنُ الْخَالِقِينَ
[‘So blessed be Allah, the Best of creators’]
“Thereupon, Abdullah became mistrustful as to how the words that he had uttered could be the words of God. He said, ‘If Muhammadsa be true, then I receive the same revelation that he does, and if he be false, then there is no good in following him.’ So, he fled to Mecca. According to one narrative, he died a disbeliever, while according to another, he became a Muslim after the fall of Mecca.” (Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Part 5, pp. 260-261)
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas quotes this reference in Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya Part 5, on page 255.
Then there is a narration regarding a person who was another katib-e-wahi and left Islam. It is narrated in Sahih al-Bukhari:
حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو مَعْمَرٍ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الْوَارِثِ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الْعَزِيزِ، عَنْ أَنَسٍ رضى اللّٰه عنه قَالَ كَانَ رَجُلٌ نَصْرَانِيًّا فَأَسْلَمَ وَقَرَأَ الْبَقَرَةَ وَآلَ عِمْرَانَ، فَكَانَ يَكْتُبُ لِلنَّبِيِّ صلى اللّٰه عليه وسلم، فَعَادَ نَصْرَانِيًّا فَكَانَ يَقُولُ مَا يَدْرِي مُحَمَّدٌ إِلاَّ مَا كَتَبْتُ لَهُ، فَأَمَاتَهُ اللّٰهُ فَدَفَنُوهُ، فَأَصْبَحَ وَقَدْ لَفَظَتْهُ الأَرْضُ فَقَالُوا هَذَا فِعْلُ مُحَمَّدٍ وَأَصْحَابِهِ، لَمَّا هَرَبَ مِنْهُمْ نَبَشُوا عَنْ صَاحِبِنَا. فَأَلْقُوهُ فَحَفَرُوا لَهُ فَأَعْمَقُوا، فَأَصْبَحَ وَقَدْ لَفَظَتْهُ الأَرْضُ، فَقَالُوا هَذَا فِعْلُ مُحَمَّدٍ وَأَصْحَابِهِ نَبَشُوا عَنْ صَاحِبِنَا لَمَّا هَرَبَ مِنْهُمْ فَأَلْقَوْهُ فَحَفَرُوا لَهُ، وَأَعْمَقُوا لَهُ فِي الأَرْضِ مَا اسْتَطَاعُوا، فَأَصْبَحَ قَدْ لَفَظَتْهُ الأَرْضُ، فَعَلِمُوا أَنَّهُ لَيْسَ مِنَ النَّاسِ فَأَلْقَوْهُ.
“There was a Christian who embraced Islam and read Surah al-Baqarah and Aal-e-Imran, and he used to write (the revelations) for the Prophetsa. Later on, he returned to Christianity again and he used to say, ‘Muhammad knows nothing but what I have written for him.’ Then Allah caused him to die, and the people buried him, but in the morning, they saw that the earth had thrown his body out. They said, ‘This is the act of Muhammad and his companions. They dug the grave of our companion and took his body out of it because he had run away from them.’ They again dug the grave deeply for him, but in the morning, they again saw that the earth had thrown his body out. They said, ‘This is an act of Muhammad and his companions. They dug the grave of our companion and threw his body outside it, for he had run away from them.’ They dug the grave for him as deep as they could, but in the morning, they again saw that the earth had thrown his body out. So, they believed that what had befallen him was not done by human beings and had to leave him thrown (on the ground).” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
Regarding this incident, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas stated:
“An example of this can be found in early Islam: A scribe of the Holy Quran, who, by virtue of being close to the Prophetic light, would often partake of the revelation of Quranic verses just as the Imam – the Holy Prophetsa – was going to dictate it. One day, the scribe thought to himself, ‘What difference is there between me and the Holy Prophetsa? I too receive divine revelation!’ This thinking led him to his ruin. It is recorded that even his grave threw him out, quite like Balaam who was similarly ruined.” (The Need for Imam, p. 4)
Regarding this allegation of a companion leaving Islam Ahmadiyyat and him previously receiving a revelation about him, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas writes:
“The answer is that the revelation merely means that his root is firm and his branches touch the sky; it does not specify what he is firm upon by virtue of his true nature. There can be no doubt that every person is endowed with some innate virtue to which he sticks constantly and steadfastly. When a kafir embraces Islam, he brings that virtue with him and, should he again turn away from Islam, he would take it back with him. This happens because there is no alteration or mutation in Allah’s nature and in His creation. Human beings are like mines – some of gold, some of silver and some of brass, therefore, if the revelation mentions some innate and unalterable virtue of Mir Sahib, it is nothing to marvel at, nor is it anything to object to. Let alone Muslims, non-believers, too, possess innate virtues and they too are naturally endowed with some moral qualities. God has not created anything which is totally devoid of good. It is true, of course, that an innate virtue cannot of itself lead to eternal salvation unless one treads the right path, which, in other words, is called Islam. Faith, cognition of God, righteousness and fear of God are the highest virtues without which all other virtues are worthless. What is more, this revelation pertains to the time when Mir Sahib possessed the quality of steadfastness and had tremendous capacity for sincerity, and he too believed that he would remain steadfast forever. The news given by God Almighty pertained to his condition at that point in time. It is well known regarding divine revelations that God gives tidings according to a person’s obtaining condition; when one is a kafir, He calls him a kafir; when one is a believer and steadfast, He calls him a believer, sincere and steadfast. There are many such examples in divine revelations. There is no doubt that for 10 years Mir Sahib was one of my sincerer, devoted and loyal companions. Such was his effusive sincerity that, at the time of pledging allegiance to me, he also brought some of his relatives, friends and acquaintances into this Jamaat. During this 10-year period he sent me so many letters full of love and devotion that I cannot estimate their number. I believe I still have nearly two hundred of them in which he describes his devotion and attachment with extreme humility and modesty. Some of them contain his dreams which seemed to confirm his belief that I was from God and that my opponents were false. Based on these dreams, he expressed his everlasting devotion to me, as if he would be with me in this world and in the hereafter. He gave wide publicity to these dreams and narrated them to his followers and friends. If a person proclaims his loyalty with such fervour and Allah reveals that he is steadfast and not wavering, can such a revelation be called contrary to the facts? Many revelations reflect only on the present circumstances and are not related to events that follow. It is also true that, while a man still lives, we cannot pass judgement that his end will be an evil one, for a man’s heart lies in the hand of Allah, the Glorious. Mir Sahib is no big deal. If God so wills, He can turn the most callous and hard-hearted person to the truth.” (The Heavenly Decree, pp. 61-63)
“In short, this revelation describes the obtaining condition, not necessarily indicative of the final end, and the end is yet to come. Many there were who defected from the ranks of the righteous and became their sworn enemies, yet they later repented on witnessing some divine miracles, wept bitterly, confessed their sins and returned to the fold. Man’s heart lies in God’s hand, and the tests and trials from that Supreme Sage are always close by. Mir Sahib fell into a trial due to some inherent weakness in him. As a consequence, his devotional zeal gave way to spiritual constriction which turned to coldness, and then to disrespect, leading to the sealing of his heart, open hostility and an intent to vilify and defame me. Herein is a lesson of a great downfall! Could anyone think or imagine that Mir Abbas Ali would come to such an end? The Lord of Sovereignty does as He pleases. My friends should pray for him and should not withhold their sympathy from their fallen and helpless brother. God-willing, I too shall pray for him. I would have liked to include some of his letters in this journal to show to the people the degree of Mir Abbas Ali’s devotion, the dreams he spoke of and the expressions of humility and reverence he used when writing to me, but, alas, this brief journal has little space for them. Nevertheless, if the Mighty God so wills, I shall do so at some appropriate time. This is a potent example of the changes a man can undergo; one whose heart was always full of devotion and reverence – who would write of me as God’s vicegerent on earth – has now come to such a sorry pass. Fear Allah, therefore, and always pray that He may keep your hearts on the right path and, out of His sheer grace, protect you against error.” (The Heavenly Decree, pp. 63-65)