Professor Clement Wragge: […] The other thing I want to find about is Satan. What is Satan? How is it that God being the Master and All-Powerful, Satan was still able to have so much control to the extent that, for his reform, God had to come to this world. What is meant by this?
The Promised Messiahas: […] Regarding Satan, it should be remembered that two forces have been imbedded in human nature and creation, and both [forces] oppose each other. This is so that a person is tried and tested, and, having succeeded [in the tests], becomes deserving of divine nearness.
Of the two forces, one pulls towards goodness and the other to evil. The force that pulls towards goodness is called “malak” or “angel” and the force which invites to evil is called “Satan”.
In other words, you can understand it like this: there are two forces which affect a person, one calls towards good and the other towards evil. In this manner, if someone does not like the words “Satan” and “angel”, they can still understand [the concept] – no one can deny two forces are at work within humans. God Almighty never intended any evil – God only does what is good.
You see, if sin did not exist in the world then good [deeds] would not have existed either. Good deeds are born from sin [and] the very existence of sin gives birth to good. If someone could commit fornication and they possessed the ability to do so too, but then abstained from it, then this action is called a good deed. If someone has the opportunities to steal or be cruel etc. and can carry these acts out, but does not do so and abstains, then they are doing a good act.
To have the opportunity and capability of sinning and then not indulging in sin, is the very name of reward and good deeds.
Prof Clement Wragge: There are two forces at work in the world – positive and negative. Now, if we always use the positive force and neglect the negative, then one day the negative will slowly gather force and erupt at any time: destroying the world. The same is true of good and evil. If the whole world only does good and never commits any bad deeds, then, in the same way, evil will gather force and destroy the world.
The Promised Messiahas: You see, if a person is not even able to shout, then their speaking softly will not be considered as high morals. If people remained in one condition and were not capable of any change, then good would no longer be called good. The presence of two opposites manifest goodness.
If one’s state was unchangeable and humans were not given any other abilities and were always compelled to do good and could not commit evil, then how would obedience and good even exist?
Allah the Almighty has, to an extent, given human beings control – they can change their state. They have the power to do good and the choice to commit evil. And so, a person will find their reward according to how they act.
You see, if bad morals did not exist then how could good morals have existed? Moral depravity came into existence as soon as good morals came into existence.
A person understands bad morals and condemns them because bad morals exist. Good morals have specific definitions [too] and they are praised. If there was no picture in one’s mind of what is bad, then there would be no such thing as good morals. It is always through evil that good is distinguished. If only one way had been created, then there certainly would not have been any reward nor [God’s] pleasure.
Pain and comfort, sorrow and happiness, darkness and light, bitter and sweet, poison and antidote, bad and good and sin and goodness, all come into being by the existence of its opposite. If these opposites were not created, life itself would have been very dull. If there was only one way and condition, it would have been engrained in [human] nature, and so what reason would there be for any reward and recompense? How could such a condition be a means of gaining [God’s] pleasure when all deeds committed in such a condition – that was innate in humans – would be out of compulsion, a person having no power otherwise.
Remember, humans have been given free will. A person has the option to do good or bad, to do good or cruelty and to be benevolent or miserly. It is always by keeping in mind the two aspects of possible behaviours that we can form an opinion about a particular person being good or bad.
The whole meaning of [human] actions is that a person is able to act otherwise. Despite having the ability to take revenge, [a person] does not and in the contrary acts kindly. But, how can a person who has not even been given a hand to punch with so that they can take revenge, say they are doing good or acting kindly by not punching [someone] back [in retaliation]?
قَدۡ اَفۡلَحَ مَنۡ زَكّٰهَا
وَ قَدۡ خَابَ مَنۡ دَسّٰهَا
[He indeed [truly] prospers who purifies it, and he who corrupts it is ruined.] (Surah al-Shams, Ch.91: V.10-11)
From these holy verses, it is clear that goodness and good qualities pivot on both aspects [of being able to do good or bad]. The person who is only given one capability and not the other, possesses a mere engraving that cannot be erased.
He who denies the existence of angels and Satan is effectively denying self-evident truths and going against that which can easily be sensed or witnessed. Every day, we witness that people do good while on the other hand crimes also take place in the world, and both these forces are equally at work – not a single person can deny this. Who doesn’t feel and experience these two forces within themselves? Here, no philosophy or logic can rule otherwise since the two forces are present and each is working in its place.
With regard [to your question] that if only good exists then evil will gather force and destroy the world. Regarding this, all I can say is that I have no concern with [conjectures] saying, “If this happens then that will happen, and if that happens then this will happen”. All I see is that human nature has been prepared for good actions as well as for bad actions. I do not go beyond this.
Prof Clemet Wragge: In Christianity, it is famous that the world went astray but God then purchased it back from Satan. Is this correct?
The Promised Messiahas: We do not believe in such nonsense. This is nonsense. The question should be posed to Christians.
Prof Clement Wragge: Christian beliefs say Adam went from a higher state to a lower state, whereas [in reality] humans develop from lower states to higher states.
The Promised Messiahas: This is not our belief, nor do we accept it [i.e. the Christian belief].
Prof Clement Wragge: I believe the next life to be like a cloak – through it, a person transforms from one condition into another. I have a special interest in spiritualism. I want to know how the next life will be and what will happen there?
The Promised Messiahas: No doubt, after this life, a new life will start. However, right now, I do not have the time to explain this matter in detail. In this life, whoever plants their seeds well, they will get a pure [afterlife]. And those who did not plant their seeds well will face difficulties and punishments. In a way, that new life remains connected to this [current] life and does not completely cut off. The world of dreams serves as an example of this. While awake, life exists, however when one falls asleep a great change occurs.
I am aware of some details [regarding this topic]; however, it cannot be explained right now because this topic requires a lot of time. It cannot be explained in a few minutes.
Mrs Wragge: Is it possible to talk or connect in any way with those who have passed away from this world and find out their true condition?
The Promised Messiahas: This is possible – through visions a person can meet souls. However, to achieve this, taxing and immensely difficult spiritual exercises are greatly required. I have tested and experienced this myself and, at times, have met souls and conversed with them. A person can ask them about things that are beneficial and about prayers etc.
I have met with the soul of Hazrat Isaas [Jesus] and the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and have met some Companionsra too. I am experienced in this regard.
However, the difficulty for a person [regarding meeting souls] is that until they do not carry out spiritual exercises with strict adherence to practice and the [set] rules, they cannot attain this experience. And as this [experience] cannot be achieved by everyone, for this reason, in such a person’s opinion, these matters are just stories and fantasy and possess no reality.
The human heart is the centre of extraordinary and great wonders. However, as clean and quality water is acquired through strenuous effort – the ground is dug up, the mud taken out and the area cleaned – in the same way, to access the wonders of the heart that God has instilled, great effort and struggles are needed.
The point to remember is that the reality of this matter [of conversing and meeting with souls] is accepted and I have witnessed and experienced this myself.
After this, Prof Clement Wragge asked the Promised Messiahas for another audience on another day because he had many more questions to ask Huzooras. In response, the Promised Messiahas, who was in his final illness, said:
“These days, I am ill. I cannot endure too much effort. However, if I am well, then it is possible [to meet again].”
Six days later, Prof Wragge got the blessed opportunity to meet the Promised Messiahas once more. During the meeting he continued to ask Huzooras questions, especially those relating to science and the natural world.
In the coming issues of Al Hakam, we will, insha-Allah, present a translation of the meeting that took place on 18 May 1908 between the Promised Messiahas and Prof Clement Wragge.
(Malfuzat, Vol. 10, pp. 359-364; translated by Al Hakam)
(To be continued …)