Prophet Noah’s age and the prediction of the Promised Messiah a.s.

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“In the same way, in the earlier parts of Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, God Almighty has also called me Nuhas [Noah] and said with regard to me:

وَلَا تُخَاطِبْنِي فِي الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا ۚ إِنَّهُم مُّغْرَقُونَ

“Meaning, ‘… and do not say anything to me by way of intercession for those who have transgressed. I shall cause them to drown.’

“At the time of Noahas, God gave almost a thousand years of respite to the transgressors, and now, too, a thousand years have passed if we put aside the three centuries of Khairul-Qurun [the best of centuries in Islam]. So, according to this reckoning, this age now approaches the time similar to the one at which Noah’s people were destroyed in. God also commanded me:

وَاصْنَعِ الْفُلْكَ بِأَعْيُنِنَا۔ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُبَايِعُونَكَ إِنَّمَا يُبَايِعُونَ اللَّهَ يَدُ اللَّهِ فَوْقَ أَيْدِيهِمْ

“Meaning, ‘Build an ark before My eyes and according to My command. Those who enter into Bai‘at [the pledge of allegiance] with you, enter into a covenant with Allah. It is the hand of God that is upon their hands.’ This Bai‘at is the ‘ark’ that will save the lives and the faith of the people.” (Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya Part V, p. 140 [English Translation])

Highlighting the above extract, the opponents raise an allegation against the founder of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas of Qadian that his statement about Noah’sas age being a thousand years is against the concept of his own Jamaat, who believes that Noahas lived a normal human life and the figure of 950 years refers to the age of his Ummah who believed in his prophethood.

Pondering over the excerpt of the Promised Messiahas, we can easily realise that he is explaining those divine revelations in which Allah the Almighty declared him Noahas. Moreover, God Almighty prophesied to the Promised Messiahas to build an ark with His commandment and foretold him that the wrongdoers would be annihilated in his time.

The Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

حَدِّثُوا النَّاسَ بِمَا يَعْرِفُونَ

“A person should speak in way which is known to the people” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Ilm). Hence, the religious scholars interpret this hadith as follows:

کَلِّمُوْھُمْ عَلٰی قَدْرِعُقُوْلِھِمْ

“Speak to the people according to their level of understanding.” (Umdatul Qari, Sharah Sahih al-Bukhari)

As people used to believe through the verse of the Holy Quran that the natural age of Noahas was 950 years, therefore the Promised Messiahas presented the same widely held belief and endeavoured to make them understand that in accordance with the belief of the people, the wrongdoers were given respite for a thousand years in the time of Noahas and then they were punished. Likewise, in his age, putting aside the three centuries of Khairul-Qurun, a thousand years had passed, so he predicted that a torment would befall the transgressors in the same vein.

Allah the Almighty states in the Holy Quran:

وَ لَقَدۡ اَرۡسَلۡنَا نُوۡحًا اِلٰی قَوۡمِہٖ فَلَبِثَ فِیۡہِمۡ اَلۡفَ سَنَۃٍ اِلَّا خَمۡسِیۡنَ عَامًا

“And We certainly sent Noah to his people, and he dwelt among them a thousand years save fifty years.” (Surah al-Ankabut, Ch.29: V.15)

The above verse indicates that Noahas remained in his nation for 950 years. There can be two possible rational interpretations of this verse:

Noahas lived in his nation for 950 years with his material body

The teachings, shariah [divine law] and influence of Noahas remained in the world for 950 years as though he spiritually lived in his nation for 950 years

At the time of the interpretation of this verse, it should be researched as to which of the above explanation is worthy of acceptance. Allah the Almighty states in the Holy Quran:

وَ مَنۡ نُّعَمِّرۡہُ نُنَکِّسۡہُ فِی الۡخَلۡقِ

“And him whom We grant long life We revert him to a weak condition of creation.” (Surah Ya Sin, Ch.36: V.69)

اَللّٰہُ الَّذِیۡ خَلَقَکُمۡ مِّنۡ ضُؔعۡفٍ ثُمَّ جَعَلَ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ ضُؔعۡفٍ قُوَّۃً ثُمَّ جَعَلَ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ قُوَّۃٍ ضُؔعۡفًا وَّ شَیۡبَۃً ؕ یَخۡلُقُ مَا یَشَآءُ ۚ وَ ہُوَ الۡعَلِیۡمُ الۡقَدِیۡرُ

“It is Allah Who created you in a state of weakness, and after weakness gave you strength; then, after strength, caused weakness and old age. He creates what He pleases. He is the All-knowing, the All Powerful.” (Surah al-Rum, Ch.30: V.55)

وَ مِنۡکُمۡ مَّنۡ یُّتَوَفّٰی وَ مِنۡکُمۡ مَّنۡ یُّرَدُّ اِلٰۤی اَرۡذَلِ الۡعُمُرِ لِکَیۡلَا یَعۡلَمَ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ عِلۡمٍ شَیۡئًا

“And there are some of you who are caused to die prematurely, and there are others among you who are driven to the worst part of life with the result that they know nothing after having had knowledge.” (Surah al-Hajj, Ch.22: V.6)

The above verses of the Holy Quran points to a very significant law of nature that the organs and powers of a person are subject to decay and deterioration as their age progresses, and there comes a time when they forget everything. It is for this reason that the Holy Prophetsa used to pray for being saved from reaching extreme old age in the following manner:

أعُوذُ بِكَ أنْ أُرَدَّ إِلَى أَرْذَلِ العُمُرِ

“I seek refuge in You [Allah] from being subject to [senile] extreme old age.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Jihad wal-Siyar)

The natural effects of extreme old age impact even the prophets of Allah the Almighty. If we believe that the natural age of Noahas was 950 years, then we have to accept that he forgot all his knowledge when he reached his senile age and he became so weak that he was unable to perform tabligh or the assigned tasks of tarbiyat, which is against his honour and rank of prophethood.

Therefore, the law of nature indicates that verse 15 of Surah al-Ankabut does not refer to the material age of Noahas, but rather signifies his spiritual age, i.e. the life of his shariah was 950 years. Hence, there is no contradiction in the statements of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat’s founderand Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra because the Promised Messiahas presented a long held belief to explain a matter before the general public while Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra in Tafsir-e-Kabir [Urdu exegesis of the Holy Quran] stated the interpretation of the verse under discussion.

Opponents raise another objection referring to the same extract mentioned at the outset that based on the prediction of Ahmadiyya Jamaat’s founder, every person should have been killed in 1300 AH which is the year 1883 according to the Gregorian calendar, but on the contrary, Hazrat Mirza Sahibas died while the diseases and epidemics were overcome and nothing caused the entire mankind to perish as happened in the time of Noahas.

Everyone can realise by simply reading the statement of the Promised Messiahas with honesty of heart that he did not predict the death of every person by means of epidemics and wars by 1300 AH, i.e. by 1883. The excerpt only discusses the fact that similar to the annihilation of transgressors in the age of Noahas, the wrongdoers present in the time of the Promised Messiahas will be wiped out by the torment of plague.

The figures of death and destruction caused by the outbreak of plague in the time of the Promised Messiahas published by an arch-enemy of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat, Maulvi Sanaullah of Amritsar in his newspaper Ahl-e-Hadith, has already been discussed in a previous article of Responding to Allegations under the heading Prophecies of the Promised Messiahas – Part XII. According to the record, around 34,436 people were killed in one week and 29,154 individuals perished in the following week. So, the annihilation of transgressors that occurred by the torment of plague can very well be estimated through the number of deaths caused in merely two weeks.

The allegation also seems absurd by the fact that the book Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya Part V was written by the Promised Messiahas in the year 1905, so it is irrational to deduce that the founder of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat was predicting the death of every human being by the year 1883.

Moreover, on the very next page, following the statement under discussion, the Promised Messiahas wrote:

“In these same previous parts of Barahin-e- Ahmadiyya, Allah the Exalted addressed me at one place and said, ‘I shall bless you so much that kings shall seek blessings from your garments.’” (Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya Part V, p. 141)

The Promised Messiahas could never have predicted the death of every living soul by the year 1883 because kings would have also been dead before the fulfilment of the above prophecy, rendering it an impossible claim.

Furthermore, a few pages prior to the extract under consideration, the Promised Messiahas stated:

“As has been said clearly in this revelation, recorded in Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya:

يَا عِيسَى إِنِّي مُتَوَفِّيكَ وَرَافِعُكَ إِلَيَّ وَمُطَهِّرُكَ مِنَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ وَجَاعِلُ الَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوكَ فَوْقَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ

“Meaning, ‘O Isa, I will cause you to die, and exalt you towards Me, and demonstrate your innocence, and I will cause your followers to prevail over your deniers till the Day of Judgment.’ In this divine revelation, ‘Isa means myself, and by the followers are meant the members of my Jamaat.’” (Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya Part V, p. 119)

The above statement vividly predicts that not only would the followers of the Promised Messiahas remain till the Day of Judgment, but in fact, his opponents would also survive. So, it is unreasonable for a sensible person to present a contradictory predication in the coming pages of the same book.

On the other hand, the assertion of the opponents that the diseases and epidemics were overcome through the advancement of medicine, rendering the prediction of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat’s founder to be false, is historically incorrect. We have mentioned in a previous article of Responding to Allegations under the heading Prophecies of the Promised Messiahas – Part XVI that dreadful epidemics in this age of huge scientific development still continue to exist across the globe.

Referring to the same extract mentioned at the outset, opponents point out that Ahmadis residing in certain areas suffer from cancer in relatively higher numbers than others. They assert that had the prayers of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat’s founder been effective, their impact would have been witnessed in those areas.

There is not the slightest indication in the statement of the Promised Messiahas under discussion which shows that those who would take his Bai‘at would not pass away by cancer. The diseases or epidemics that occur as a punishment by God Almighty fall in the category of a torment and every other disease cannot be considered a torment of God Almighty. Mosesas had a stammer and Jobas had a skin disease. Even the Holy Prophetsa said:

“No sorrow, nor sadness, nor distress, nor grief, nor hurt, nor melancholy befalls a Muslim but Allah expiates some of their sins because of it, even though it were the prick they receive from a thorn.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Marda)

It could have been a valid objection if the Promised Messiahas had predicted as a result of a prayer before God Almighty that none of his followers would suffer from cancer or pass away from it.

On the other hand, the Promised Messiahas predicted that by the grace of God Almighty, he would triumph over his opponents in a prayer duel. He announced:

“Today, on 15 May 1908, a thought crossed my mind that there lies another means to decide [the truth]. A God-fearing person might gain some benefit from it and may come out from the perilous vortex of renunciation. The said way of deciding [the truth] is that a person from the opponents who denies me and is an extreme opponent and believes me to be an infidel and a great liar should be nominated on behalf of ten well-known maulvi sahibs or ten famous respectables and compete with me in such a manner that we both attest to our truth or falsehood on two severely ill persons, i.e. in such a way that we take two persons suffering from dreadful diseases of different kinds and divide them in order to pray for them by drawing lots. Thereafter, the participant whose subject heals completely or his life is prolonged as compared to the other individual participant will be considered truthful. All of this is in the power of Allah Almighty and I, having full trust in the promise of Allah Almighty, predict this in advance that the diseased person who will be allotted to me, God would either grant him complete health or bless him with a long life as compared to the other. This fact would be the proof of my truth. If this does not happen, then you may bear witness that I am not from God Almighty. However, there will be a condition attached to it that the opposing participant who stands against me, he himself and ten other maulvis or ten respectables who share the same beliefs as his, should publish that in case of my victory, they shall accept me and enter my Jamaat, and this confirmation must be published in three famous newspapers. Likewise, the same conditions will apply on me has well…. The benefit of such a duel will be that God Almighty will save a dreadfully diseased person who has become hopeless from their life and He will show a sign by means of raising the dead. On the other hand, the matter will be decided with great comfort and ease in this manner.” (Chashma-e-Marifat, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 23, p. 4)

Hence, the Promised Messiahas challenged his opponents to a prayer duel, but having witnessed countless signs of fulfillment of prayers at the hands of God’s Messiah, nobody dared accept it.

(Research conducted by the Resesarch Cell. Translated by Junaid Ahmad Waraich)

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