Prophets of Allah – Prophet Ahmad: The perfect follower of Muhammad

Jalees Ahmad, Al Hakam

Ahmadas was a Prophet of Allah and the awaited Promised Messiah and Mahdi. Prophet Muhammadsa, in Sahih Muslim, addressed the coming of the Latter-Day Messiah as “Nabiullah,” which means Prophet of Allah. (Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Fitan w ashrat al-Saa’ah, Hadith 2937a)

Ahmadas, who was born in Qadian, a small town in India situated to the east of Damascus, had been deeply devoted to the Islamic faith since his early childhood. In fact, from a very young age, he was known as a maseetar, a term used to describe someone who dedicated their entire time to the mosque, engaging in religious practices and devotion.

Persian roots of Ahmadas

His lineage can be traced back to Haji Barlas, the uncle of Amir Timur, who was closely associated with the renowned Barlas tribe. This tribe had a rich history in the region of Kish, a part of ancient Sogdiana, with Samarkand as its capital. Notably, the Sogdians were of Iranian origin. The names “Samarkand” and “Barlas” themselves have Iranian roots, and Samarkand is recognised as an Iranian-derived term. Furthermore, Mirza Hadi Baig, an ancestor of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, hailed from Samarkand and migrated to India, possibly with Babar, the first Mughal Emperor. These historical connections and the Iranian heritage of the Barlas tribe strongly indicate that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas was of Persian descent, despite being commonly referred to as a Mughal in India. For a deeper read, please see Life of Ahmad, pp. 8-25.

Surah al-Jumu‘ah and the prophecy about ‘Ahmad’

In Surah al-Jumu‘ah, Allah states:

“He it is Who has raised among the Unlettered [people] a Messenger from among themselves who recites unto them His Signs, and purifies them, and teaches them the Book and wisdom, although they had been, before, in manifest misguidance; And [among] others from among them who have not yet joined them. He is the Mighty, the Wise.” (Surah al-Jumu‘ah, Ch.62: V.3-4)

The verse and a renowned and often quoted saying of the Holy Prophetsa both allude to the Second Coming of the Holy Prophetsa, which will manifest in the form of the Promised Messiah during the Latter Days. The following incident has been mentioned in Sahih al-Bukhari, Muslim, Jami‘ at-Tirmidhi.  

Hazrat Abu Hurairara narrated: “While we were seated with the Holy Prophetsa, Surah Jumu‘ah was revealed to him. When the verse, ‘wa akharina minhum lamma yalhaqu bihim’, that is, ‘And others from among them who have not yet joined them’, was recited by the Holy Prophetsa, I enquired, ‘Who are they, O Allah’s Messengersa?’ The Holy Prophetsa did not respond until I repeated my question three times. At that moment, Salman al-Farisira was among us. Allah’s Messengersa then placed his hand on Salmanra and said, ‘Even if faith ascended to the Pleiades [completely disappearing from the earth], there would be some from his people [in another version, “one man” is mentioned instead of “some people”] who would restore faith [back] to earth.’” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab at-tafsir, Hadith 4897)

Additional teachings from the Prophet Muhammadsa indicate that the Messiah’s arrival would coincide with a period when only the words of the Quran would remain, and the essence of Islamic teachings, represented by its name, would be lost:

لَا‭ ‬يَبْقَى‭ ‬مِنَ‭ ‬الْإِسْلَامِ‭ ‬إِلَّا‭ ‬اسْمُهُ‭ ‬وَلَا‭ ‬يَبْقَى‭ ‬مِنَ‭ ‬الْقُرْآنِ‭ ‬إِلَّا‭ ‬رَسْمُهُ

Prophet Muhammadsa is reported to have said: “A time is soon coming to mankind when nothing of Islam but its name will remain and only the written form of the Quran will remain.” (Mishkat al-Masabih, Kitab al-‘ilm, Hadith 276)

Then, we also read:

يَأْتِيَنَّ‭ ‬عَلَى‭ ‬أُمَّتِي‭ ‬مَا‭ ‬أَتَى‭ ‬عَلَى‭ ‬بَنِي‭ ‬إِسْرَائِيلَ

“What befell the children of Isra’il will befall my ummah, step by step, such that if there was someone who had intercourse with his mother in the open, then there would be someone from my ummah who would do that. Indeed, the children of Israel split into 72 sects, and my Ummah will split into 73 sects. All of them are in the fire except one.” The Holy Prophetsa was asked which sect it was, to which he replied: “What I am upon and my Companions.” (Jami‘ at-Tirmidhi, Hadith 2641)

The decline of Islam in light of this hadith is crucial to understand. Why did Prophet Muhammadsa say that his Ummah would follow the same path as the Children of Israel? To truly comprehend these prophetic words, we must look at the actions of the Children of Israel that the Holy Quran describes and how Muslims have similarly erred and followed the same path, as stated in the above hadith.

One of the most well-known actions taken by the Children of Israel was their rejection of the Messiah of their time. By rejecting Jesusas, who was a Prophet sent to Bani Israel, they continue to await the coming of the Messiah. The reason for their rejection was their belief that Elijahas had ascended physically, and they anticipated his physical return.

Now, when we examine the Muslim ummah, what do we observe? We find that they too rejected the Messiah of their era, Hazrat Ahmadas, just as they await the physical descent of Jesusas, a Prophet sent to the Children of Israel.

Defender of Islam and devotee of Prophet Muhammadsa

Hazrat Ahmadas claimed to be the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, who was destined to come in the Latter Days. In his book, Kitabul-Bariyyah, Hazrat Ahmadas recounts a dream he saw in which a holy figure suggested fasting as a tradition in preparation for receiving heavenly light. Hazrat Ahmadas states that he followed this practice for an extended period and experienced numerous visions, including encounters with past Prophets and revered Muslim saints. (Kitabul-Bariyyah, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 13, pp. 197–200, footnote)

Hazrat Ahmadas spent much of his youth defending Islam against allegations raised by Christian missionaries who frequently delivered open-air speeches. Abundant literature from eyewitnesses attests to his noble character, even before he was commissioned as a Prophet of Allah. Before receiving prophethood, he would have dreams that would later come true, just as did his master, the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa

His love for the Holy Prophetsa was profound; in fact, on many occasions, he stated that Allah bestowed prophethood upon him because of his utmost devotion to Prophet Muhammadsa.

Hazrat Ahmadas once wrote: 

“Next to God, I am inebriated with the love of Muhammadsa; if this be disbelief, then by God I am a great disbeliever.” (Lecture Sialkot [English], p. 69)

His deep devotion to the Holy Prophet is clearly evident in the following excerpt:

“I swear by God, if these people had murdered my children before my eyes, and cut my sincere friends into pieces, and had killed me with great humiliation and had possessed themselves with all my possessions, I would still have not been so pained and my heart would not have been so grieved as compared to the pain that I feel by the insults thrown at the Holy Prophetsa.” (Aina-e-Kamalat-e-Islam, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 5, p. 15)

Another incident is as follows:

“Once I received a revelation that indicated that there was a vigorous discussion in the High Assembly in Heaven. That is, God’s will for the revival of the Faith was surging, but the appointment of the man to revive the Faith was not yet disclosed to the High Assembly, and this is why they were in disagreement. It was at this time in the dream that I saw people searching for a revival. A man appeared before my humble self, and, pointing towards me, he said:

هٰذَا‭ ‬رَجُل‭ ‬يُحِبُّ‭ ‬رَسُولَ‭ ‬الله

“This means that, this is the man who loves the Messenger of Allah.” (Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Part 4, p. 379)

Hazrat Ahmadas: The defender of Islam and author extraordinaire

Hazrat Ahmadas authored over 80 books, each providing Muslims with compelling arguments to defend the faith of Islam while also expounding upon its beauties. His book, Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, is replete with such arguments. He received immense praise for his works, with some even asserting that the service Hazrat Ahmadas rendered to Islam is unparalleled. 

After being commissioned as the reformer, Mahdi, and Messiah, he continued to produce more books, championing the glory of Islam, which, as prophesied by the Holy Prophet, was in dire need of revival. Thus, Hazrat Ahmadas was raised as the reformer of his era.

Old Qadian
An old view of Qadian

Divine dreams, revelation and being commissioned

Hazrat Ahmadas, in his book, stated: “In early youth, when one’s natural bent is towards play and sport, I saw in my dream that I entered a house in which there were several people who were my servants and attendants. I said to them: ‘Set up my house and clean up my bed, because my time has come.’ Then I woke up in fear of my life, as the impression on my mind was that I was about to die. [A’ina-e-Kamalat-e-Islam, p. 548, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 5, p. 548]” (Tadhkirah, p. 7)

Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra explained: “From the words: ‘my time has come,’ the Promised Messiahas understood that he was about to die. However, as subsequent events showed, it meant that the time of his being commissioned as reformer was imminent.” (Tadhkirah, p. 7)

It was in 1882 that it was revealed to Hazrat Ahmadas that he was the reformer of the age. Then, in his book, The Victory of Islam, which was published in 1891, Hazrat Ahmadas writes: 

“I shall proclaim it time and time again—the declaration of which I cannot refrain from—that I am the very one who was sent at the appointed time for the reformation of mankind so that the Faith might be firmly planted afresh within the hearts.” (The Victory of Islam, p. 10)

In his book, Izala-e-Auham, published in 1891, Hazrat Ahmadas stated that Allah revealed to him that the Messiahas of Nazareth had passed away. The revelation revealed was: 

“Masih Ibn-e-Maryam [Messiah, son of Mary], Messenger of Allah, has died and you have come in his spirit according to promise” (Tadhkirah, p. 240)

He also said, in the same book under discussion: “We have made you Masih Ibne-Maryam [Messiah, son of Mary]. [Urdu] Tell them: I have come in the footsteps of Jesus. They will say: ‘We have not heard any such thing from our ancestors’ Respond to them that: Your knowledge is limited; God knows best. You are content with the letter and obscurity. The true reality has not been disclosed to you. He who realises that the foundation of the Ka‘bah was a design of divine wisdom is very wise, for he has partaken of the mysteries of the universe. One of high resolve will be born. He will be like you in beauty and benevolence. He will be of your progeny. [Persian] [Son, delight of the heart, high ranking, noble;] [Arabic] [A manifestation of the True and the High, as if Allah had descended from heaven. You will pass through different periods with different companions and will behold distant progeny. We shall bestow upon you a good life; eighty years or thereabouts.]” ([Izala-e-Auham, pp. 632–635, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 3, pp. 441–443], Tadhkirah, pp. 242-243)

In light of his prophethood, Hazrat Ahmadas issued a leaflet titled A Misconception Removed, in which he stated:

“Wherever I have denied being a Prophet or Messenger, it has only been in the sense that I have not brought an independent law nor am I an independent Prophet. I am a Messenger and Prophet only in the sense that I have received spiritual grace from the Messengersa whom I follow, and, having received his name for myself, and through him, I have received knowledge of the unseen from God. But I have not come with a new law. I have never denied being called a Nabi (Prophet) in this sense. Indeed it is in this very sense that God has addressed me as Nabi and Rasul; and it is in this sense that I do not deny being a Nabi or Rasul.” (A Misconception Removed, p. 10)

‘Our Mahdi’: The lunar and solar eclipses 

Prophet Muahmmadsa prophesied: 

اِنَّ‭ ‬لِمَهْدِيَّنَا‭ ‬آيَتَيْنِ‭ ‬لَمْ‭ ‬تَكُوْنَا‭ ‬مُنْذُ‭ ‬خَلْقِ‭ ‬السَّمَاوَاتِ‭ ‬وَالأَرْضِ،‭ ‬تَنْكَسِفُ‭ ‬الْقَمَرُ‭ ‬لأَوَّلِ‭ ‬لَيْلَةٍ‭ ‬مِنْ‭ ‬رَمَضَانَ،‭ ‬وَ‭ ‬تَنْكَسِفُ‭ ‬الشَّمْسُ‭ ‬فِي‭ ‬النِّصْفِ‭ ‬مِنْهُ،‭ ‬وَلَمْ‭ ‬تَكُوْنَا‭ ‬مُنْذُ‭ ‬خَلَقَ‭ ‬اللّٰهُ‭ ‬السَّمَاوَاتِ‭ ‬وَ‭ ‬الأَرْضَ

“For our Mahdi [Spiritual Reformer], there are two signs that have never appeared before since the creation of the Heavens and the Earth, namely that the Moon will be eclipsed on the first night in Ramadan [i.e., on the first of the nights on which a lunar eclipse can occur] and the Sun will be eclipsed on the middle day [i.e., on the middle one of the days on which a solar eclipse can occur]. And these signs have not appeared since God created the Heavens and the Earth.” (Sunan ad-Daraqutni, Kitab al-eidain)

The arrival of the Promised Messiah in the last age is undisputed, and one of the signs of the Latter Days is the convergence of the Sun and the Moon, as stated in the Holy Quran:

“He asks, ‘When will be the Day of Resurrection?’ When the eye is dazzled, And the moon is eclipsed, And the sun and the moon are brought together,” (Surah al-Qiyamah, Ch.75: V.7-10)

This refers to a solar and lunar eclipse that occurred during the time of the Latter-Day Messiah, Hazrat Ahmadas, aligning with the prophecy in a hadith in the month of Ramadan.

In light of the Hijri Calendar, lunar eclipses occur on the 13th – 15th days, and solar eclipses on the 27th – 29th days. As per the prophecy, lunar eclipses fall on the 13th of Ramadan, and solar eclipses on the 28th. Thus, in 1894, lunar and solar eclipses occurred on March 21 (13th Ramadan) and April 6 (28th Ramadan). In 1895, again, it occurred on March 11 and March 26, aligning with the same Ramadan dates in Qadian, although not visible there.

Prophecies about the Latter Days in the Holy Quran

Surah at-Takwir, chapter 81 of the Holy Quran, was revealed in early Mecca, most likely in the 6th year of the Prophet Muhammad’ssa mission. This Surah primarily focuses on the concept of the Final Resurrection, which has two phases: the first occurred with the advent of Prophet Muhammadsa and the revelation of the Quran, and the second is to happen with the coming of the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, as hinted at in 62:4. This is why the Latter Days, the Messiah, and the Mahdi are interconnected.

This Surah addresses the anticipated revival of Islam under the Promised Messiah and the profound global changes it would usher in. The Surah commences by depicting these forthcoming transformations and briefly alluding to the moral decline among Muslims at the time and its underlying causes. The message of the Surah also implies that Islam, being God’s final message, will ultimately prevail and herald a dawn of success.

Below are a few examples:

“When the sun is wrapped up.” (81:2)

A simple study of the Holy Quran shall reveal that it refers to the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa as the “Bright Sun” (25:62). Hence, this verse can be interpreted as follows: When there is  spiritual darkness prevailing globally, signifying the dimming or complete disappearance of the light of the Spiritual Sun as mentioned in the hadith of Mishkat al-Masabih, Kitab al-‘ilm, Hadith 276. Then, we read:

“And when the stars are obscured.” (81:3)

The word nujum, which is the plural of najm, means stars. It is often used to refer to religious scholars. Hence, there’s a famous saying:

أصحابي‭ ‬كالنجوم‭ ‬بأيهم‭ ‬اقتديتم‭ ‬اهتديتم

Meaning: “My Companions are like stars; whoever you follow among them, you will be rightly guided”. In this context, the verse means that when religious leaders lose their influence.

Further, we read: 

“And when the she-camels, tenmonth pregnant, are abandoned.” (81:5)

This verse highlights how camels, which were once the main mode of transportation, will be replaced by modern means like trains, steamships, cars, and aeroplanes. There’s a clear indication of camels being replaced by other forms of transportation in a saying of Prophet Muhammadsa:

وَلَتُتْرَكَنَّ‭ ‬الْقِلاَصُ‭ ‬فَلاَ‭ ‬يُسْعَى‭ ‬عَلَيْهَا

“Camels will be abandoned and not used for travelling.” (Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-iman, Hadith 155c).

These are just a few of the signs mentioned for the Latter Days. When we contemplate the Islamic state of the world and witness the fulfilment of these prophecies, we naturally find ourselves asking: Who is the reformer and messenger of the Latter Days alluded to in the Holy Quran and mentioned in that hadith? Who is the individual destined to rescue the Muslim world from the pervasive darkness it has fallen into? Who will rejuvenate the teachings of Islam? Hazrat Ahmadas is indeed the promised one foretold by Prophet Muhammadsa, who received divine revelations from God. He is the “Khalifah of Allah”, of whom the Holy Prophetsa spoke, saying that in the advent of the Messiah, one should go to him and pledge his allegiance, “even if you have to crawl over snow, for he is the Khalifah of Allah, the Mahdi.” (Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab al-fitan, Bab khuruj al-mahdi, Hadith 4084)

Hazrat Ahmadas instructed by Allah to take bai‘at

During the time of Hazrat Ahmadas, prior to him being commissioned – though when he had written books in favour Islam – certain devout and honourable Muslims, including Hazrat Sufi Ahmad Jan, noticed the declining standards of morality and spirituality within the Muslims. He expressed a wish and approached Hazrat Ahmadas, urging him to accept their allegiance (bai‘at). They held a strong belief that Islam needed a revival to prevent Muslims from becoming engulfed in the increasingly materialistic world. However, Hazrat Ahmadas would respond with the following words:

“I have not been commissioned.”

The Promised Messiahas would add, “Since the Almighty Allah has not conveyed anything to me in the matter of bai‘at, it is not proper that I should do so on my own initiative.” (Hayat-e-Ahmad, Vol. 2, p. 150)

When Hazrat Ahmadas was divinely instructed to take bai‘at and start a jamaat, he published an announcement on 1 December 1888, saying:

“I have been commanded to take an oath of allegiance [bai‘at] from seekers of truth who wish to acquire true faith and purity; who yearn to find the path to Allah’s love; who want to give up their foul, slothful and false existence.

“Whosoever finds in themselves the willingness to do this must come to me. I will be their comforter and will do my best to ease their burden. God will bless them through my prayers and my attention, provided they are ready with heart and soul to abide by His conditions. This is a divine command, which I have hereby conveyed. The actual words of the revelation in Arabic are as follows:

إِذَا‭ ‬عَزَمْتَ‭ ‬فَتَوَكَّلْ‭ ‬عَلَى‭ ‬اللّٰهِ۔‭ ‬وَاصْنَعِ‭ ‬الْفُلْكَ‭ ‬بِأَعْيُنِنَا‭ ‬وَوَحْيِنَا۔‭ ‬إِنَّ‭ ‬الَّذِيْنَ‭ ‬يُبَايِعُوْنَكَ‭ ‬إِنَّمَا‭ ‬يُبَايِعُوْنَ‭ ‬اللّٰهَ‭ ‬يَدُ‭ ‬اللّٰهِ‭ ‬فَوْقَ‭ ‬أَيْدِيْهِمْ

[“When you have made up your mind, you must have trust in God. Make an ark under Our eyes and under Our command. Those who will take bai‘at at your hands will really be giving their hands into the hand of God. The hand of God is over their hands.”]

“Peace be on him who follows the guidance.

“Ghulam Ahmad, 1 December 1888”. (Majmuah-e-Ishtiharat, Vol. 1, p. 205)

Significance in the Ahmadiyya Jamaat 

It is clear from the sirah and hadith that Prophet Muhammadsa had two names, Muhammad and Ahmad. (Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-faza’il, Hadith 2354b)

The name Muhammad represented a phase of glory, exemplified in Medina, where his enemies were dealt with through warfare. In contrast, the name Ahmad symbolised a phase of beauty, exemplified in Mecca, where his second advent would emphasise peace, love, and non-violence. Thus, it was fitting for the Jamaat to be associated with the name “Ahmadiyya” as it aligned with the mission of peace.

Much can be said about Prophet Ahmadas. However, I have limited myself to a few topics only. For a more in-depth study of the life and character of the Mahdi and Messiah of the Latter Days, please refer to the following sources:

Life of Ahmad by A. R. Dardra

Life of the Promised Messiah, by Abdul-Karim of Sialkotra 

Claims of the Promised Messiah (as) by Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IVrh

Ahmad The Guided One by Iain Adamson

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