Surah al-Haaqah, 23 years and the Promised Messiah a.s.

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وَ لَوۡ تَقَوَّلَ عَلَیۡنَا بَعۡضَ الۡاَقَاوِیۡلِ۔ لَاَخَذۡنَا مِنۡہُ بِالۡیَمِیۡنِ۔ ثُمَّ لَقَطَعۡنَا مِنۡہُ الۡوَتِیۡنَ۔ فَمَا مِنۡکُمۡ مِّنۡ اَحَدٍ عَنۡہُ حٰجِزِیۡنَ

“And if he had falsely attributed even a trivial statement to Us, we would surely have seized him by the right hand, and then surely, We would have severed his jugular vein, and none of you could shield him from us.” (Surah al-Haaqah, Ch.69: V.45-48)

Referring to the above verses of the Holy Quran, the opponents of the Promised Messiah and Mahdias allege that the words, “We would have severed his jugular vein” should be applied metaphorically to the claim of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas and there is no condition attached that these words should be taken literally.

Promised Messiah

They assert that the supposed contradictory statements of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat’s founder about takfir [declaration of disbelief], his “false” prophecy about Abdul Hakim and opposing views of his Second Khalifa regarding the issue of his prophethood, were the metaphoric “cutting of the jugular vein”.

From the time of Prophet Adamas to the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and from his era to this age, not one forger was given respite after falsely claiming that he had been commissioned by God Almighty and after publishing his own words as divine revelations.

On the basis of this historically proven fact, the Promised Messiahas often quoted the aforementioned verses of Surah al-Haaqah as a proof of his truthfulness. Soon after the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa claimed to be a divinely appointed prophet, many among the people of the Quraish refused to accept him and considered the revelation of God as his own forged words.

Thus, Allah the Almighty instructed the Holy Prophetsa to present the following argument before them:

تَنۡزِیۡلٌ مِّنۡ رَّبِّ الۡعٰلَمِیۡنَ

“[The Holy Quran] is a revelation from the Lord of the worlds.” (Surah al-Haaqah, Ch.69: V.44)

However, the disbelievers were not satisfied. Hence, God Almighty further said, “And if he had falsely [attributed] even a trivial statement to Us, We would surely have seized him by the right hand, and then surely We would have severed his jugular vein, and none of you could shield him [from Us]. And verily, it is a reminder for the righteous.” (Ch.69: V.45-49)

The time period between the revelation of these verses of Surah al-Haaqah and the time of his whole prophethood period has been presented as a proof of the Holy Prophet’ssa truth by God Almighty because if he had fabricated lies against Allah, he would not have been given respite to spread his message in the name of God.

It is important to know when these verses were revealed to the Holy Prophetsa; to know the time period, which is considered to be enough for a claimant of prophethood to establish his truthfulness.

Regarding the revelation of the said verses, Hazrat Umarra said:

“These verses had been revealed before my accepting Islam. Once, the thought crossed my mind that the Holy Prophetsa would go to the Ka‘bah at night to worship, so I should go and kill him. Thus, I went there and hid in the dark. After some time had elapsed, the Prophetsa arrived and began offering Tahajud. At first, I intended to immediately attack him, but then I thought to listen to what he was saying. Upon hearing, I found that he was reciting these very verses of Surah al-Haaqah. These verses had such an impact on me that they kept me from attacking him.” (Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal, Umar bin al-Khattabra)

This narration indicates that these verses of Surah Al-Haaqah had been revealed by the sixth year of the divine appointment of the Holy Prophetsa because Hazrat Umarra accepted him in 6 Nabawi. Moreover, the above incident shows that it was the time when the open opposition of the Holy Prophetsa had just begun and had not reached extremity as he was reciting the verses of the Holy Quran in the Ka‘bah without any explicit hindrance.

Fierce opposition against the Holy Prophetsa started when he began to convey the message of Allah publically and that happened after the first three years of the Holy Prophet’ssa prophethood, because prior to that time, he used to call the people of Mecca to Islam secretly.

Thus, these facts signify that the said verses were revealed roughly between four to six years after the Holy Prophetsa was commissioned as a prophet and the prior four- to six-year period that had elapsed was presented as proof of his truthfulness as a prophet and his claim of being the recipient of divine revelation. The Holy Prophetsa claimed prophethood at the age of 40 and passed away at 63. Allah the Almighty blessed the Prophetsa with 23 years of life to propagate his claim and promulgate his message.

The Promised Messiahas presented the same argument in support of his claim, saying that if God had granted him ample time to spread his message across the globe as He had bestowed upon the Holy Prophetsa, then how could his claim be false? As soon as opponents realise that the Promised Messiah’sas explanation of the said verses seems rational and establishes his truth, they come up with another excuse that the argument mentioned in these verses of the Holy Quran is particularly for the personage of the Holy Prophetsa and not for every other person who presents such a claim.

The Promised Messiahas rebutted this unreasonable interpretation by giving the example of a shopkeeper. The Promised Messiahas stated:

“It is absolutely clear that Allah Almighty has not presented the verse لَوۡ تَقَوَّلَ عَلَیۡنَا [if he had falsely attributed even a trivial statement] as an unwise statement which does not establish any concrete proof [of the Holy Prophet’s truth]. Surely, Allah is free from all kinds of irrational endeavours. Hence, the situation in which that Wise [God] has presented this verse … and reasoned in such a way, it has to be believed that if a person falsely claims to be a messenger and a divinely commissioned prophet, he will never get to live [after his claim] equal to the time of the Holy Prophet’ssa prophethood.

“Otherwise, this argument [of God] will not be justified and no other way of understanding this [reasoning] would ever be established because … if [any other] fabricator gets respite of 23 years, it would clearly indicate that every liar can get such a respite. Then, [the question is] how will the truth of لَوۡ تَقَوَّلَ عَلَیۡنَا [if he had falsely attributed even a trivial statement] be manifested upon the people? And what are the arguments for believing that if the Holy Prophetsa had lied, he would have been killed within 23 years? …

“It could be understood with the help of an example. For instance, a shopkeeper says, ‘If I cheat in my dealings of my shop or sell defective products or lie or weigh products less than they actually weigh, then the moment I would do so, lightening would strike me. Thus, you [customers] should remain satisfied with me and should not bear any doubts that I will ever sell faulty goods or weigh deceptively or lie, rather you should buy goods from my shop with eyes closed and should not examine anything.’ Should people be satisfied with this nonsensical statement and consider this absurd statement of his as an argument for his truthfulness? Certainly not. By God, such a statement can never be a proof of this person’s honesty. In fact, it is a way to deceive God’s people and to make them oblivious.

“On the other hand, this could be considered a [reasonable] argument in two cases: The first scenario could be that on a few occasions, it had happened in front of the people that the said person was struck by lightning the moment he had lied about his goods or weighed deceptively or committed some other kind of dishonesty and was left half dead. Moreover, that the lying or cheating or under-weighing had happened continuously and he was struck by lightning many times over, until the hearts of the people were convinced that the person was certainly struck by lightning at the time of deception. In that case, this statement would definitely be used as an argument because many people witnessed the fact that he lied and was struck by lightning.

“The second situation could be that it so happens to the common people that a person who is a shopkeeper lies about his consumer products or weighs less or commits some kind of dishonesty or sells faulty goods and gets struck by lightning.

“Thus, keeping this example in mind, every honest person is compelled to say that the statement of لَوۡ تَقَوَّلَ عَلَیۡنَا from the All-Knowing and Wise God will serve as a conclusive proof only when one of the two conditions is present in it:

“The first is that God forbid, the Holy Prophetsa had told a lie in the past and God had given him a severe punishment and the people being the personal witnesses were aware of the fact that he would be punished if he would forge a lie against God, as he was punished on a given occasion previously. However, this type of reasoning could not be carried out regarding the pure personage of the Holy Prophetsa and even to think so in relation to the Holy Prophetsa is kufr [disbelief].

“The second argument could be that being a general rule of God Almighty, whoever fabricates a lie against Him, he should not be given any long respite and killed immediately. Hence, this reasoning seems correct in this situation. Otherwise, the phrase لَوۡ تَقَوَّلَ عَلَیۡنَا would be mere deception in the eyes of an objector and God forbid, it would fall in the category of a futile discourse of a shopkeeper [who urges his customers to buy his good giving baseless arguments of lightning strikes].

“The conscience of those who respect the word of God can never accept that the statement of God َلَوۡ تَقَوَّلَ عَلَیۡنَا is so meaningless that there is no proof for it. It is clear that conveyance of this unsubstantiated statement by God Almighty to those opponents who neither believed in the prophethood of the Holy Prophetsa, nor considered the Holy Quran as the word of Allah was simply irrational and no less than childish consolation.

“Moreover, how and why would the disbelievers and the opponents be satisfied with it? Rather, it would be just a claim for them, devoid of evidence. How absurd is it to say that if I commit such and such sin, I would be killed, even though millions of other people in the world commit the same sin every day and are not killed? What an abominable excuse it is that God does not do anything to other sinners and heretics and this punishment is especially for me…

“Hence, considering the wise words of God Almighty that have been revealed in the world for the completion of conclusive arguments in such a vain way is to mock and deride the holy word of God. The Holy Quran repeatedly proclaims that God Almighty does not spare one who fabricates a lie against Allah. He punishes such a one in this very life and destroys him; Allah the Exalted refers to it in the verse:

وَ قَدۡ خَابَ مَنِ افۡتَرٰی

“That is, ‘He who fabricates a lie shall perish.’ [Surah Ta Ha, Ch.20: V.62]

“At another place it is said:

وَ مَنۡ اَظۡلَمُ مِمَّنِ افۡتَرٰی عَلَی اللّٰہِ کَذِبًا اَوۡ کَذَّبَ بِاٰیٰتِہٖ

‘Who is guilty of greater wrong than one who fabricates a lie against God or gives the lie to His signs?’ [Surah al-An‘am, Ch.6: V.22]

“It is thus clear that those who repudiated the word of God on the occasion of the advent of God’s Prophets were not spared by God and were destroyed by diverse types of torments. Observe the end of the people of Noah and of Ad and Thamud and the people of Lot and of Pharaoh and the Meccan enemies of the Holy Prophetsa.

“Thus, when those who rejected the truth were chastised in this world, how can such a one escape who fabricates a lie against Allah and who is mentioned in the first place in the verse just cited? Would God treat the righteous and the false alike and is there no punishment in this life from God Almighty for impostors?

مَا لَکُمۡ ٝ کَیۡفَ تَحۡکُمُوۡنَ

[‘What is the matter with you? How judge ye!’] (Surah al-Qalam, Ch.68: V.37)]

“At another place, God Almighty has said:

وَ اِنۡ یَّکُ کَاذِبًا فَعَلَیۡہِ کَذِبُہٗ ۚ وَ اِنۡ یَّکُ صَادِقًا یُّصِبۡکُمۡ بَعۡضُ الَّذِیۡ یَعِدُکُمۡ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ لَا یَہۡدِیۡ مَنۡ ہُوَ مُسۡرِفٌ کَذَّابٌ

“‘If this prophet is an impostor, he will perish because of his imposture, but if he is truthful, then it is a must that you too will taste some punishment, because the transgressors, whether they are guilty of imposture or rejection, shall receive no help from Allah.’ [Surah al-Mumin, Ch.40: V.29]

“What could be more explicit than the fact that in the Holy Quran, God Almighty warns again and again that an impostor is bound to perish in this very world. On the other hand, the very first proof for God’s true prophets and appointed ones is that they pass away after completing their work and they are given enough time for the promulgation of faith, and the longest timespan in this short life of man is 23 years, because mostly, prophethood begins at 40 years of age, and if another 23 years are granted, it is the prime time of life.

“It is for this reason that I say again and again that the time period of the Holy Prophet’ssa prophethood is a very accurate measure for the truthful and it is not possible for anyone to be untruthful and forge a lie against God and still be granted a respite of 23 years, i.e. relative to the duration of the Holy Prophet’ssa prophethood; such a one will surely be annihilated.” (Arba‘in, No. 4, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 17, pp. 430-434)

God Almighty states:

وَ مَنۡ یَّلۡعَنِ اللّٰہُ فَلَنۡ تَجِدَ لَہٗ نَصِیۡرًا

“He whom Allah curses, thou shalt not find for him a helper.” (Surah al-Nisa, Ch.110: V.53)

Talking about true prophets in the Holy Quran, Almighty the Allah says:

اِنَّا لَنَنۡصُرُ رُسُلَنَا وَ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا فِی الۡحَیٰوۃِ الدُّنۡیَا وَ یَوۡمَ یَقُوۡمُ الۡاَشۡہَادُ

“Most surely We help Our Messengers and those who believe, both in the present life and on the day when the witnesses will stand forth.” (Surah al-Mumin, Ch.40: V.52)

The above verses indicate that a person who has not been made a prophet by God and fabricates false revelations of prophethood and attributes them to Allah, incurs God’s wrath against himself and instead of being a partaker of God’s pleasure and forgiveness, comes under God’s curse. Consequently, he does not gain acceptance in the world but fails miserably. His support and following is not found.

On the contrary, God Almighty helps true prophets in this very world. Despite all the opposition of people, Allah gives them respite to preach their claim. Their ideas spread and as a result of divine help, people gradually start accepting them.

Of all the prophets, the greatest prophet, Hazrat Muhammadsa was bestowed with the utmost succour. As Allah Almighty says:

اِذَا جَآءَ نَصۡرُ اللّٰہِ وَ الۡفَتۡحُ

وَ رَاَیۡتَ النَّاسَ یَدۡخُلُوۡنَ فِیۡ دِیۡنِ اللّٰہِ اَفۡوَاجًا

“When the help of Allah comes, and the victory, and thou seest men entering the religion of Allah in troops.” (Surah al-Nasr, Ch.110: V.2-3)

If the opponents want to genuinely refute the Promised Messiah’sas claim, it is necessary for them to first prove through a verse or hadith that the one who fabricates falsehood against God Almighty and is a false claimant of prophethood, is given ample respite from Allah, relative to the Promised Messiahas, who was granted a long life to spread his claim, which, in view of the opponents, was false.

Secondly, the opponents should prove with the help of a verse or hadith that God Almighty can help a false claimant of prophethood and that people in this world, during his life and even after his death, accept his views and join his fold. However, they do not produce any such evidence and by not doing so, they declare by their actions that what is written in the Holy Quran and ahadith about false claimants of prophethood was not present in the Promised Messiahas and what is written in them about true prophets of God was certainly present in him.

Rather than acknowledging the truthfulness of the Promised Messiahas, they continue to deny and this is an established habit of the adversaries of the prophets, as Allah the Almighty states:

کَذٰلِکَ قَالَ الَّذِیۡنَ مِنۡ قَبۡلِہِمۡ مِّثۡلَ قَوۡلِہِمۡ

“Likewise said those before them similar to their saying.” (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.119)

As far as the objections regarding the statements of the Promised Messiahas, prophecy about Abdul Hakim and the opinion of Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmadra on the issue of his prophethood are concerned, we have already addressed these allegations in previous articles of Responding to Allegations. [See: “Absolute faith of the companions in the Promised Messiahas and his prophethood” and “The age of the Promised Messiah – Part II”]

Thus, it is irrational to suggest that the verses of the Holy Quran mentioned at the outset should be implied metaphorically in the case of the Promised Messiahas or any other claimant of prophethood. The word of God Almighty, the Holy Quran, the sayings of the Holy Prophetsa and historical evidence are absolutely against the view of the opponents.

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