Fazal Masood Malik & Usman Shahid, Canada
Throughout history, heavenly or divine signs have played a significant role in validating the truth of a prophet’s message. These signs, often in the form of prophecies, serve as a powerful tool to prove that God is with the chosen one and to guide believers towards the right path. The word “revelation” itself means “to reveal,” and the Promised Messiahas has mentioned countless prophecies that came true during his lifetime. Through these signs, people are shown evidence of the truth of a messenger’s mission, whether through dreams, visions, or revelations of diverse natures. So, prophecy is not intended to scare us, but to prepare us and help us see the guiding light.
In the Holy Quran, it is elucidated that Allah the Omnipotent, elects to disclose mysteries to those he chooses. He stands steadfastly behind His emissaries, whom we commonly recognise as prophets.
عٰلِمُ الۡغَيۡبِ فَلَا يُظۡہِرُ عَلٰي غَيۡبِہٖۤ اَحَدًا اِلَّا مَنِ ارۡتَضٰي مِنۡ رَّسُوۡلٍ فَاِنَّہٗ يَسۡلُکُ مِنۡۢ بَيۡنِ يَدَيۡہِ وَمِنۡ خَلۡفِہٖ رَصَدًا
“[He is the] Knower of the unseen; and He reveals not His secrets to any one, except to him whom He chooses, namely a Messenger [of His]. And then He causes an escort [of guarding angels] to go before him and behind him.” (Surah al-Jinn, Ch. 72: V.27-28)
Through dreams, visions, and various other revelations, people are shown signs that confirm the truth of the Prophet’s message and serve as a powerful reminder of Allah’s unwavering support for His chosen ones. Allah guides, protects, and ensures the success of His messengers without fail, enabling them to fulfil their divine mission and spread His word to all who will listen.
In the case of Mosesas, the biblical narrative in Exodus 2:1-10 recounts the tale of his mother, Jochebed, who received a divine dream revealing that her son was destined to become a great leader. With the Egyptian authorities slaughtering all Hebrew baby boys, Jochebed carefully concealed Moses, placing him in a basket on the Nile river. By divine providence, Pharaoh’s daughter discovered the basket and adopted the child as her own. Jochebed, who served as Moses’ nurse, later witnessed her son rise to become a renowned leader, delivering his people from bondage and slavery in Egypt.
Likewise, in the case of Jesusas, the Bible reports that Hazrat Maryam, the mother of Jesusas, received a visitation from an angel (Hazrat Jibrailas) who informed her that she would give birth to a son who is destined to become a prophet of God. (Luke 1:26-38)
In the case of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra relates the fascinating story about the Prophet’ssa early years. While accompanying his uncle on a trading journey to Syria, a Christian monk named Bahira noticed signs of prophethood in the young Muhammadsa. Bahira advised his uncle to care for him well, for he was destined to become a great prophet. (The Life & Character of the Seal of Prophetssa, pp. 138-139)
Long before the advent of the Promised Messiahas, a series of divine signs began to appear, setting the stage for his arrival. One such sign was the dream of Mian Gulab Shah, who received a vision prior to 1861 that Jesusas had passed away and that the prophecy of the second coming would be fulfilled through Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas. This dream was just one of the signs pointing towards the arrival of the Promised Messiahas. (Izala-e-Auham, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 3, pp. 480-482)
In addition, Hazrat Nematullah Shah Walirh, a revered saint in India around 560 AH, prophesied about the coming of the Promised Messiahas. (Khutbat-e-Mahmud, Vol. 11, p. 223) He was mentioned in the book Al-Arba’in fi Ahwal-al-Mahdiyin (‘Forty [Hadith] concerning the Mahdis’) authored by Shah Ismail Dehlawi (1779 – 1831), which contains forty ahadith related to the appearance of Imam Mahdi. These divine signs served as a testament to the authenticity of the Promised Messiah’sas mission and provided concrete evidence for his claims.
Divine Signs associated with the arrival of the Promised Messiahas go beyond just dreams and visions. There are instances of celestial objects and phenomena that have occurred from the heavens without any human involvement. These, too, serve as evidence of the divine message. (Alladin, S. “Lunar and Solar Eclipses as signs of the Promised Messiah,” The Review of Religions, July 1987)
In Surah an-Nahl, Allah states:
وَسَخَّرَ لَکُمُ الَّيۡلَ وَالنَّہَارَ ۙ وَالشَّمۡسَ وَالۡقَمَرَ ؕ وَالنُّجُوۡمُ مُسَخَّرٰتٌۢ بِاَمۡرِہٖ ؕ اِنَّ فِيۡ ذٰلِکَ لَاٰيٰتٍ لِّقَوۡمٍ يَّعۡقِلُوۡنَ
“And He has pressed into service for you the night and the day, and the sun and the moon; and the stars [too] have been pressed into service by His command. Surely, in that are Signs for a people who make use of their reason.” (Ch. 16, V. 13)
The sun, moon, and stars are crucial for human survival and have practical uses, such as keeping track of time, navigating, and determining planting schedules. But beyond these practical applications, the Holy Quran tells us that they also hold spiritual significance. In fact, the Holy Quran explicitly mentions stars as a source of spiritual guidance for humans. It states:
وَعَلٰمٰتٍ ؕ وَبِالنَّجۡمِ ہُمۡ يَہۡتَدُوۡنَ
“And, [other] marks [too; by them] and by the stars they follow the right direction.” (Surah an-Nahl, Ch. 16, V. 17)
The verse above clearly states that God has made the heavenly bodies a spiritual sign for humanity. Thus, when such heavenly and earthly signs appear, it also serves as evidence of God’s support for His chosen ones. When we look back at the history of divinely ordained prophets, we see that in addition to earthly signs, heavenly signs were also manifested to testify to the truthfulness of their claims.
In ahadith, we find several signs prophesied by the Holy Prophetsa that would mark the advent of the Promised Messiahas and Mahdi nearly 1400 years later. One such prophecy is about the appearance of a comet in the year 1882. (Haqiqatu-Wahi, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 22, p. 205) The Promised Messiahas mentioned the appearance of the comet in his book, Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya. He wrote:
“Third Sign—Is the appearance of a comet which was destined to appear in the time of the Promised Messiah. It has long since appeared. Its sighting prompted some English newspapers of the Christians to comment that the time of the Messiah’s advent had arrived.” (Haqiqatul-Wahi [English], p. 248) This comet appeared in the month of Ramadan in the year 1882 as a sign of his truthfulness. (“Comet Tales”, Royal Society, 27 February 2023, www.royalsociety.org/blog/2023/02/comet-tales/, Accessed 27 March 2023)
The Great Comet of 1882 was an awe-inspiring sight to behold, and it remains one of the most remarkable comets of the 19th century. Its brightness was so intense that it could be seen during daylight hours; scientists estimate that its nucleus was several kilometres in diameter. What made the Great Comet particularly fascinating was its orbit, which was highly elliptical and took it close to the sun before propelling it back into the outer reaches of the solar system. This type of orbit is typical of long-period comets, which can take years or even centuries to complete a single orbit around the sun.
The Great Comet of 1882 was a sight to behold, leaving people from all over the world in awe and wonder. Its distinctive tail spanned many degrees across the sky, and its bright coma made it one of the most impressive comets of the modern era. It was truly a striking and magnificent appearance in the night sky.
In addition to celestial phenomena like the Great Comet, there were also other signs that indicated the arrival of the Promised Messiahas. For instance, the Holy Foundersa of Islam prophesied the occurrence of solar and lunar eclipses in the same month of Ramadan when Imam Mahdi would come in the future. (Sunan al-Daraqutni, Kitab al-‘idayn) This prophecy was fulfilled when both eclipses took place within the month of Ramadan in the eastern hemisphere in 1894 and in the western hemisphere in 1895. (www.ahmadipedia.org/content/event/8/eclipse-of-the-moon-and-the-sun)
According to an authentic hadith (narrated by Hazrat Imam Baqar Muhammad bin Ali and recorded in Ad-Daraqutani), there are two signs that will appear for the Promised Messiahas, which have never occurred before for anyone else since the creation of the heavens and the earth. The hadith states that during the month of Ramadan, the moon will be eclipsed on the first of its nights of eclipse, and the sun will be eclipsed on the middle day of its days of eclipse. These two signs will both take place in the same month of Ramadan, and they have never appeared before for anyone except for the true Mahdi.
From this hadith, several points can be inferred. Firstly, these two signs will occur after the dawn of Imam Mahdi. Secondly, the lunar eclipse will take place on the 13th of Ramadan, which is the first night of the three nights on which lunar eclipses can occur. Thirdly, the solar eclipse will occur on the 28th day of Ramadan, which is the middle of the three days during which a solar eclipse can occur. Fourthly, both of these signs will appear in the same month of Ramadan. Lastly, it is important to note that these signs are exclusive to the true Mahdi and have never been witnessed before for any other claimant. In simpler terms, these signs have never manifested for anyone who has claimed to be the Mahdi during their lifetime.
As prophesied by the Holy Prophetsa, the lunar eclipse occurred on 21 March 1894, which happened to coincide with the first day of the full moon during Ramadan. And in the same blessed month of Ramadan, a solar eclipse was observed on 6 April, precisely in the middle of the three potential days that such an eclipse could have taken place. Next year in the western hemisphere, the Moon was eclipsed on 11 March 1895, and the Sun was eclipsed on 26 March 1895. These celestial events are a testament to the fulfilment of the Prophet’s prophecy and serve as a reminder of the divine power and wisdom that governs the universe.
These Divine Signs were further testimony to the truth of the Promised Messiah’sas mission and served as evidence of the divine origin of his message. They were seen as miraculous events, and they helped to convince many people of the truth of the Promised Messiah’sas teachings. The fulfilment of these prophecies strengthened the faith of his followers and reinforced the idea that Divine Signs are an essential aspect of divine messages.
In his book, Signs of the Living God, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra discusses various Divine Signs that were associated with the Promised Messiahas and his followers. One of the most significant signs was the establishment of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, which he describes as a miracle in itself. In the face of fierce opposition and persecution, the community persevered in its mission to promote peace and acceptance. More than a century has passed since then, yet the signs of Allah the Almighty continue to manifest themselves every single moment. (Signs of the Living God, pp. 6-8)
Through Divine Signs, the Promised Messiah’sas mission was vindicated and his claims were verified. These miraculous events, which cannot be explained by natural causes, serve as a powerful testimony to the divine origin of a prophet’s message. In the case of the Promised Messiahas, these signs included the fulfilment of numerous prophecies, such as the prophecy of the plague, the prophecy of the First World War, and the prophecy of the revival of Islam, which demonstrated the truth of his teachings beyond any doubt.
However, Divine Signs are not merely a historical phenomenon. They offer us a glimpse into the timeless wisdom and infinite power of the Almighty, and speak to a deep human need for meaning, connection, and purpose. Whether through dreams, visions, or the wonders of the natural world, these signs remind us that there is more to life than what can be seen and measured and that if we follow the path shown to us by the Holy Prophetsa and his true servant, the Promised Mahdi and the Messiahas, we will find the utopia, the heaven that we seek. May we all be blessed to recognize and heed these signs, and may they lead us to a life of true fulfilment and happiness.