Shedding light on the claim of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas with regard to his knowledge of the Arabic language, this article seeks to dispel major allegations raised against the Promised Messiah’sas use of Arabic phrases, his God-given eloquence and command over the language and the usage of sentences taken from past literature.
This series of articles was prepared by Muhammad Tahir Nadeem Sahib of the Central Arabic Desk in the UK and serves as a rebuttal to major objections against the Arabic literature of the Promised Messiahas.
Muhammad Tahir Nadeem, Central Arabic Desk
The Promised Messiah and Mahdi, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, said:
“As a reflection of the miracle of the Holy Quran, I have been gifted with the sign of eloquence in the Arabic language and nobody can compete with me in this.” (The Need for the Imam, p. 28; Zarurat-ul-Imam, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 13, p. 496)
It is the sunnah (practice) of God Almighty that He sends prophets with His message and then apart from blessing them with spiritual knowledge and pearls of wisdom, He supports them with signs and miracles. Consequently, when Allah the Almighty sent the Promised Messiahas in accordance with the prophecies of the Holy Quran and the Holy Prophetsa, where He granted him countless signs and spiritual wisdom, the doors of divine knowledge were also opened for him.
The Promised Messiahas unveiled many truths after having received heavenly knowledge. He expressed one of these divinely bestowed truths in his books that Arabic was the mother of all languages and that it was the very first language taught by Allah the Almighty through revelation, all other languages being derived from it.
The Promised Messiahas presented many arguments in this regard. He said that God had sent the Chief and Seal of Prophets, Muhammadsa, to the “umm al-qura” (mother of all cities) and spoke with him in “umm al-alsina” (mother of all languages) and gave him “umm al-Kitab”(mother of all books) i.e. the Holy Quran, which is the eternal source of guidance for the whole world.
The Promised Messiahas also wrote a magnificent book called Minan al-Rahman (Bounties of the Gracious God) and shed light on this subject. In this book, the Promised Messiahas states:
وَتَفْصيلُ ذَلِكَ أَنَّهُ صَرفَ قَلْبِي إِلَى تَحْقيقِ الأَلْسِنَةِ، وَأَعَانَ نَظَري فِي تَنْقيدِ اللُّغَاتِ المُتَفَرِّقَةِ، وَعَلَّمَنِي أَنَّ العَرَبيَّةَ أُمّها، وَجامِع كَيْفِها وَكمِّها، وَأَنَّهَا لِسانٌ أصليٌّ لِنَوْعِ الإِنْسانِ، وَلُغَةٌ إِلْهاميَّةٌ مِنْ حَضْرَةِ الرَّحْمَنِ، وَتَتِمَّة لِخِلْقَةِ البَشَرِ مِنْ أَحْسَنِ اَلْخالِقينَ۔
“The details of this are that He [Allah] turned my heart towards the study of languages. He assisted my vision in examining the various languages and taught me that Arabic is their mother; that it comprises all their qualitative and quantitative attributes; that it is the original language of mankind; that it is a divinely revealed language from the Most-Gracious and that with it, the Best of Creators completed the creation of humanity.’ (Minan al-Rahman, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 9, p. 166)
Apart from the above details, the Promised Messiahas also mentioned that through special blessings and the grace of God Almighty, he had been divinely taught and given the miracle of excellence and eloquence in the Arabic language.
After announcing this claim, the Promised Messiahas wrote 22 books in Arabic through divine support, which will remain preserved till the Day of Judgment as an existing testimony to the truthfulness and authenticity of this miracle.
The name of one these Arabic books is Khutba Ilhamiyah [the Revealed Sermon], which is a sermon full of rich eloquence and expressions with excellent rhyme and rhythmic Arabic phrases. It also contains great spiritual truths, divine knowledge and pearls of wisdom. The Promised Messiahas delivered this extempore Arabic sermon on the occasion of Eid-ul-Adha through the divine succour of God Almighty. A large number of his Companionsra saw, listened to and witnessed this great sign.
The Arabic books of the Promised Messiahas comprise of more than 2,200 pages and contain more than 3,500 Arabic couplets on an array of subjects.
Irrespective of clear and indisputable divine proofs in favour of prophets, opponents customarily deny and seek to cast doubts on the signs and miracles of God’s messengers. Objections were raised against the Holy Prophetsa in the same vein and despite the fact that he showed more signs than any other prophet in the world, his enemies questioned him on several occasions and said:
لَوۡ لَا نُزِّلَ عَلَيۡهِ اٰيَةٌ مِّنۡ رَّبِّهٖ
“Why has not a sign been sent down to him from his Lord?” (Surah al-An‘am, Ch.6: V.38)
لَوۡ لَاۤ اُنۡزِلَ عَلَيۡهِ اٰيَةٌ مِّنۡ رَّبِّهٖ
“Why is not a sign sent down to him from his Lord?” (Surah al-Ra‘d, Ch.13: V.28)
لَوۡ لَا يَاۡتِيۡنَا بِاٰيَةٍ مِّنۡ رَّبِّهٖ
“Why does he not bring us a sign from his Lord?” (Surah Ta Ha, Ch.20: V.134)
The cold reality behind the above objection of prophets’ opponents is the same till this day, as Allah the Almighty states:
وَ مَا تَاۡتِيۡهِمۡ مِّنۡ اٰيَةٍ مِّنۡ اٰيٰتِ رَبِّهِمۡ اِلَّا كَانُوۡا عَنۡهَا مُعۡرِضِيۡنَ
“And there comes not to them any sign of the signs of their Lord, but they turn away from it.” (Surah al-An‘am, Ch.6: V.5)
In the exact same way, opponents refused to believe in the aforesaid great sign and miracle of the Promised Messiahas and tried to create doubts about it. Consequently, they said that let alone high-quality Arabic, the founder of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat did not even know simple Arabic. On certain occasions, they ridiculed the Arabic writings of the Promised Messiahas by presenting made up grammatical and structural errors. On the other hand, when opponents are overwhelmed by the eloquent Arabic of the Promised Messiahas, they accuse him of plagiarism and stealing words from various other Arabic books.
Since this series of allegations against the miracle of Arabic eloquence began in the time of the Promised Messiahas, he not only challenged his opponents to present better Arabic writings than him, but also responded to their objections in his books. However, opponents keep repeating the same allegations time after time and all these objections have been answered through various platforms of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat at different times and this practice continues to date.
A detailed study of opponents’ objections regarding the said miracle reveals two things very strongly:
1. Most of the objections of opponents are the result of not understanding this claim of the Promised Messiahas and not knowing the truth behind it. Hence, if this claim about the God-given knowledge of Arabic language is collected from various books of the Promised Messiahas and recorded in one place in detail, many objections will be removed by simply giving it a read.
2. The answers given by the Promised Messiahas to those who objected this claim in his time need to be studied in depth because he has presented minute details of his claim in simple words. The Promised Messiahas has also explained the nature of all the objections raised against his claim and the manner in which these objections should be addressed.
Hence, if the said answers of the Promised Messiahas are recorded in one place with some details, then where all the remaining objections will be eliminated, the greatness and magnificence of the claim of the Promised Messiahas will also become manifest.
It is also perhaps the way of God Almighty that opponents are stimulated when He wants to make something more prominent and they repeatedly object and force the believers to think and research about such aspects as are being challenged. Consequently, various hidden treasures of knowledge come out due to such objections.
The most surprising thing is that as a result of the objections by opponents, whatever point was investigated by Arab and non-Arab scholars of the Jamaat regarding the said claim of the Promised Messiahas and the conclusion they reached after studying hundreds of books, the Promised Messiahas had already stated it more than a century ago in just a couple of sentences. However, before carrying out research in order to refute the objections, we were unable to understand the extraordinary details and subliminal truths of these short sentences of the Promised Messiahas.
This article will attempt to present the claims of the Promised Messiahas regarding the miracle of Arabic eloquence, arguments and answers to the objections in a collective manner.
What was Hazrat Ahmad’sas claim regarding Arabic?
First of all, we will try to understand the said claim of the Promised Messiahas from his sayings and writings.
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas stated:
إنَّ كَمَالِيْ فِيْ اللِّسَانِ الْعَرَبِيّ، مَعَ قِلَّةِ جُهْدِيْ وَقُصُورِ طَلَبِيْ، آيَةٌ وَاضِحَةٌ مِنْ رَبِّيْ، لِيُظهِرَ عَلَى النَّاسِ عِلْمِيْ وَأَدَبِيْ، فَهَلْ مِنْ مُعَارِضٍ فِيْ جُمُوعِ المُخَالِفِيْن؟
“My distinction in the Arabic language – despite little effort and aspiration on my part – is a clear sign from my Lord, in order to manifest my knowledge and literary ability to people. Thus, is there anyone from among the opponents who can challenge me?” (Maktub Ahmad, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 11, p. 234)
The Promised Messiahas explained the above claim in his own words on various occasion. For example, hesaid:
وَمِن آيَاتِهِ أَنَّهُ عَلَّمَنِي لِسانًا عَرَبيَّةً، وَأَعْطَانِي نِكاتًا أَدَبيَّةً، وَفَضَّلَنِي عَلَى العالَمينَ المُعَاصِرِينَ۔
“And from among His signs is that He taught me the Arabic language and bestowed upon me literary acuity and preferred me above all the peoples of the current age.” (Maktub Ahmad, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 11, p. 247)
In one of his books, the Promised Messiahas states:
سَأَلُتْ اللّٰهَ أَنْ يَكَمِّلَنِي فِي هَذِهِ اللَّهْجَةِ، وَيَجْعَلَنِيْ وَاحِدَ الدَّهْرِ فِي مَناهِجِ البَلاغَةِ وَأَلْحَحْتُ عَلَيْهِ بِالْاِبْتِهَالِ وَالْضَّراعَةِ، وَكَثُرَ اِطِّراحِي بَيْنَ يَدْي حَضْرَةِ العِزَّةِ، وَتَوَالَى سُؤَالِي بِجُهْدِ العَزيمَةِ وَصِدْقِ الهِمَّةِ وَإِخْلاصِ الْمُهْجَةِ. فَأُجيبَ الدُّعاءُ وَأوتيتُ مَا كُنْتُ أَشَاءُ۔
“I asked God to make me perfect in this language and to make me, in this era, unparalleled in the art of eloquence. I entreated Him with prayer and humility, my supplications increased before the Lord of Honour and Power. And my entreaty continued with unwavering efforts, sincere eagerness and heartfelt devotion. My prayer has been answered and I have been given what I wanted.” (Najm-ul-Huda, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 14, p. 108)
He also said:
وَمِن آيَاتِي أَنّه تَعَالَى وَهَبَ لِي مَلَكةً خَارِقَةً لِلْعَادَةِ فِي اللِّسَانِ الْعَرَبِيّةِ۔
“And one of my signs is that Allah the Almighty has bestowed upon me extraordinary skill with respect to the Arabic language” (Najm-ul-Huda, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 14, p. 107)
The Promised Messiahas further stated:
وَعَلَّمَنِيْ رَبِّيْ مِنْ لَّدُنْهُ بِالْفَضْلِ والرَّحْمَةِ، فَأَصْبَحْتُ أَدِيبًا وَمِن المُتَفَرِّدِينَ
“And my Lord taught me from Himself with grace and mercy. Thus, I became an elegant scholar without equal.” (Najm-ul-Huda, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 14, p. 111)
At one place, Hazrat Ahmadas said:
جَعَلَنِي أَفْصَحَ المُتَكَلِّمِينَ
“He made me the most eloquent orator.” (Maktub Ahmad, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 11, pp. 34-35)
The Promised Messiahas also stated:
وأُعْطِيتُ بَسْطَةً كَامِلَةً فِيْ الْعُلُومِ الأَدَبِيَّةِ۔
“And I have been granted an abundance in literary sciences.” (Maktub Ahmad, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 11, p. 234)
He further said:
وَقَدْ فُقْتُ فِي النَّظْمِ وَالنَّثْرِ
“I have excelled in the art of composition and prose.” (Maktub Ahmad, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 11, p. 235)
In another book, hestates:
وَوَاللّٰهِ إِنَّهُ ظِلُّ فَصاحَةِ القُرْآنِ، لِيَكُونَ آيَةً لِقَوْمٍ يَتَدَبَّرُونَ
“And I swear by God, that these words are surely a reflection of the eloquence of the Quran so that they may serve as a sign for a people who reflect.” (Al-Istifta, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 22, pp. 629-630)
At another place, the Promised Messiahas said:
“My claim is that I have been granted the strength of eloquent writing through the support of God Almighty as a miracle.” (Nuzul-ul-Masih, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 18, p. 437)
Hence, the above statements of the Promised Messiahas highlight the following ten points:
1. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas was given a clear sign from God Almighty of eloquence in Arabic language
2. He was granted a wide range of knowledge in the field of Arabic literature
3. He was superior to all his contemporary writers and authors in Arabic poetry and prose
4. Allah the Almighty gave an extraordinary mastery in Arabic language
5. He was given precedence over all his contemporary scholars in the Arabic language
6. Allah the Almighty listened to his prayers and made him an exceptional source of the rhetoric of the Arabic language
7. Allah the Almighty, by His grace and mercy, taught him the knowledge of Arabic language, so he became the only Arabic writer of his time who was taught by God Himself
8. Allah the Almighty made him the most eloquent speaker
9. His Arabic writings are a reflection of the eloquence of the Holy Quran
10. He was blessed with the power of Arabic writing as a miracle through the support of God Almighty
(Research conducted by Muhammad Tahir Nadeem Sahib, Central Arabic Desk, UK. Translated by Al Hakam)