The age of the Promised Messiah – Part I

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In an attempt to prove that the founder of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat was false, the adversaries of the Promised Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, peace be upon him, suggest that the revelations regarding the time of his passing, which indicate his age to be between 74 and 86 years, were fabricated and not fulfilled. 

Moreover, referring to an announcement of the Promised Messiahas issued on 5 November 1907, opponents assert that the founder of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat departed soon after he prophesied that God would prolong his life. 

The primary task of prophets is to eradicate Shirk (associating partners with Allah) and eliminate evils from the world. Therefore, in order to exhibit the glory of His name, Allah Almighty shows such signs through the hands of prophets that the existence of God becomes manifest before the world.

Among these divine signs, some are associated with the demise of the prophet, which also serve as clear proofs of God’s existence for those people who reflect. Hence, the appearance and the departure of the Promised Messiahas also happened like that of earlier prophets. His birth was declared a sign for the entire world and his demise also occurred as a sign in accordance with the sunnah of the prophets. 

The Promised Messiahas mentioned a revelation in his book, Izala-e-Auham, published in Dhul-Hijjah (the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar) 1308 AH, 1891:

تَرٰی نَسْلاً بَعِیْدًا وَلَنُحْیِیَنَّکَ حَیٰوۃً طَیِّبَۃً۔ ثَمَانِیْنَ حَوْلاً اَوْ قَرِیْبًا مِنْ ذَالِکَ

“You will behold distant progeny. We shall bestow upon you a good life; 80 years or thereabouts.” (Izala-e-Auham, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 3, p. 443)

The Promised Messiahas wrote a book by the name of Nishan-e-Asmani (The Heavenly Sign) in May 1892, which was published in June 1892. He stated in it:

“Now, let it be clear, that I was commanded, through a specific revelation, to call the people to Allah in the 40th year of my life and I was given the glad tidings that I will live up to 80 years or thereabout.” (The Heavenly Sign, p. 28)

The Promised Messiahas then wrote another book, Tohfa-e-Golarhviyyah in 1900 which was published in September 1902. He expressed in it:

“As Allah the Almighty knew that my opponents would wish for my early demise so that they might be able to proclaim that I had died early because I was false in my claims, He revealed to me aforetime:

ثَمَانِیْنَ حَوْلاً اَوْ قَرِیْبًا مِنْ ذَالِکَ أو تزید علیہ سنیناً و تری نسلاً بعیداً

That is, ‘Your age will be 80 years – a few years less or some years more; and you will live long enough to witness your distant progeny.’ 35 years or so have passed since this revelation was vouchsafed.” (Zameema Tohfa-e-Golarhviyyah, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 17, p. 66)

Then, the Promised Messiahas in his book Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya Part V, written in February 1905 and published in October 1908, states:

“God had informed me in clear terms that I would live to the age of 80, or that five to six years more or five to six years less.” (Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya Part V, p. 347)

In the same book, he further states:

“Nor is there a promise of God that my age will necessarily exceed 80 years. Rather, the hope implied in the words in the revelation of God is that, if God so desires, my age could even somewhat exceed eighty years. The actual words of the revelation that pertain to this promise, however, fix the age between 74 and 86.” (Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya Part V, p. 347)

As far as the allegation that the revelations which indicate the demise of the Promised Messiahas to be between 74 and 86 years were fabricated is concerned, it should be borne in mind that there are two ways to find the age of an individual. Firstly, the date of his passing should be known and secondly, his date of birth should be on the record. We know the date of the demise of the Promised Messiahas, which is 26 May 1908 according to the Gregorian calendar and 24 Rabi‘ al-Thani (the fourth month of the Islamic calendar). We were not aware about the date of birth of the Promised Messiahas. He once said:

“True estimation of the age is known, of course, to God, but as far as I know at this time, which is 1323 of the Hijrah, my age is close to seventy (70) years. واللہ اعلم [And Allah knows best].” (Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya Part V, p. 489)

On another occasion, the Promised Messiahas states:

“As Adam was born on a Friday, so was I born on a Friday as well.” (Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya Part V, p. 348)

At another place, the Promised Messiahas writes:

“This humble one was born on Friday 14th of the lunar calendar.” (Tohfa-e-Golarhviyyah, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 17, p. 281 [footnote])

To shed further light on the age of the Promised Messiahas, Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Sadiqra relates:

“Once the Promised Messiahas said, ‘The month of my birth was Phagun [the twelfth month of the Bikrami calendar corresponding to February-March]. The date was 14 of the lunar calendar. The day was Friday and the time was of late night.’” (Zikr-e-Habib, pp. 238-239 [old edition])

The above mentioned references point towards three decisive factors which help deduce the age of the Promised Messiahas:

1. The month was Phagun

2. The day was Friday

3. The date was 14th of the lunar calendar

On further research, the following two occasions come up when the above three common denominators had occurred simultaneously:

1. 14 Ramadan, 1247 AH, 17 February 1832

2. 14 Shawwal 1250 AH, 13 February 1835

According to the first date, 17 February 1832, the age of the Promised Messiahas is supposed to be 76 years, 3 months and 10 days with respect to the Gregorian calendar and 78 years, 7 months, 10 days according to the lunar calendar. 

As per the second date, 13 February 1835, the age of the Promised Messiahas should have been 73 years, 3 months and 13 days according to the Gregorian calendar and 75 years, 6 months, 10 days according to the lunar calendar. 

Someone could object at this point, that what was the purpose of the prophecy when the date of birth was not even known?

The answer to this objection is that the God who vouchsafed this prophecy to the Promised Messiahas, Himself told him about his age that was mentioned in the revelation when He said, جاء وقتک i.e. “Your time has come,” and recorded it in Risala al-Wasiyyat

Moreover, even the literature of the opponents of his time shows that the Promised Messiahas was at least 74 years of age when he passed away. Hence, Maulvi Siraj-ud-Din, the then editor of Zamindar newspaper, wrote on the demise of the Promised Messiahas:

“Around 1860 or 1861, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib was a clerk in District Sialkot. He would have been about 22 to 24 years of age at that time. We can say from personal experience that he was a very virtuous and righteous person in his youth. All of his time was spent in religious studies after the completion of his official duties.” (Tarikh-e-Ahmadiyyat, Vol. 1, p. 94 [Zamindar Akhbar, 28 May 1908])

The above statement indicates that the age of the Promised Messiahas was around 24 years in 1860 or 1861, which shows that he should have been 72 years old according to the Gregorian calendar and 74 years as per the lunar calendar at the time of his passing. 

Maulvi Sanaullah of Amritsar, an arch-enemy of Islam Ahmadiyyat and the Promised Messiahas, stated in his newspaper:

“As far as this question is concerned that he [i.e. the Promised Messiahas] will die after or before every enemy of his will be annihilated, it has been answered in the negative by Mirza Sahib in his Risala al-Wasiyyat. It means, he has stated that his death is expected around the age of 80 years or thereabouts and he has probably crossed all of its steps already.” (Akhbar Ahl-e-Hadith, 3 May 1907, p. 6)

The above acknowledgment from an opponent clearly indicates that not only did the Promised Messiahas already announce, according to the prophecy of 80 years, that he was about to pass away but Maulvi Sanaullah also admitted this fact that he had reached the very age of around 80 years as per the revelation. 

When Allah the Almighty revealed upon the Promised Messiahas that demise was near, he published Risala al-Wasiyyat in December 1905 and clearly stated that his demise was close. He wrote:

“Since God Almighty has informed me, through recurrent revelations, that the time of my demise is near, and since these revelations have been of such force as to shake me to the very core of my being – turning my heart cold to this life – I have deemed it appropriate to write a few words of admonition and advice for my friends and other such persons as may wish to derive benefit from my words.” (The Will, p. 1)

The Promised Messiahas further stated:

“To begin with, I commit to writing the Divine revelation which informed me of my imminent death and motivated me to undertake this task. The following is the revelation which was received in the Arabic language…

قرب أجلك المقدر، ولا تبقي لك من المخزيات ذكرا. قل ميعاد ربك، ولا تبقي لك من المخزيات شيئا. وإما نرینک بعض الذی نعدھم أو نتوفيك۔ تموت و انا راض منک۔ جاء وقتک و نبقی لک الایات باھرات۔ جاء وقتک و نبقی لک الایات بینات۔ قرب ما توعدون۔ و اما بنعمۃ ربک فحدث۔ انہ من یتق اللہ و یصبر فان اللہ لا یضیع اجر المحسنین۔

“The appointed time of your death has come close and We shall leave no trace of anything the allusion to which might reflect adversely upon your honour. Very little is left of the term which God has ordained with respect to you. And We shall dispel and demolish and leave no trace of any objection intended to defame and humiliate you. We have the Power to show you a part of the fulfilment of Our prophecies about the opponents or cause you to die. You will die while I am pleased with you. We shall always cause the manifest signs to remain as a testimony to your truthfulness. The promise which was made is close. Proclaim the bounty of your Lord which has been bestowed on you. The one who adheres to Taqwa and is steadfast, God does not waste the reward of such righteous ones.”  (The Will, pp. 1-2)

Later on, the Promised Messiahas mentioned the Urdu revelation and stated:

“After this, God spoke to me in Urdu regarding my death and addressed me in the following words:


بہت تھوڑے دن رہ گئے ہیں اس دن سب پر اداسی چھا جائے گی۔ یہ ہو گا۔ یہ ہوگا۔ یہ ہو گا۔ بعد اسکے تمہاراو ا قعہ ہوگا ۔ تمام حوادث اور  عجائبات قدرت دکھلانے کے بعد تمہارا حادثہ آئے گا۔

[‘Very few days are left. On that day all will be saddened. This will happen, this will happen, this will happen. Your event will take place after all other events and natural wonders have been demonstrated.’]” (The Will, p. 3) 

The series of revelations about the nearing time of his departure continued to shower upon the Promised Messiahas even after the publication of Al-Wasiyyat. So, he did not stop and repeatedly informed the members of his Jamaat and his family. Countless other revelations were published in various periodicals of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat of that time which clearly predicated his close demise. 

The Promised Messiahas was bestowed with an age of around 80 years in accordance with the prophecy of Allah the Almighty. He survived and prospered for 34 years after the revelation. Then, towards the end of his life, the Promised Messiahas repeatedly received the news of demise and passed away. 

Hence, two prophecies were fulfilled in this way. Firstly, the Promised Messiahas survived till the age of about 80 years and secondly he left this world as per the divine revelations of his departure. 

Thus, the fulfilment of these prophecies is a clear proof of the truthfulness of the Promised Messiahas and a manifest rebuttal to the allegations of the opponents. 

(Research conducted by the Research Cell. Translated by Al Hakam)

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