Last Updated on 5th February 2021
M Adam Ahmad, Al Hakam
Opponents of the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, suggest that the time of the appearance of the Latter-Day Messiah has not yet come and in their view, the founder of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat presented his claim when there was no need for the Messiah.
The time when the Promised Messiahas appeared was not an ordinary age. Almost every religion was waiting for a chosen one of God, who would come and save the sinking ship of mankind. It was a time when moral and spiritual corruption was at its peak and darkness prevailed the earth. The signs mentioned in the Holy Quran and the prophecies of the Holy Prophetsa related to the most awaited Messiah were becoming manifest. The scholars and saints in the time of the Promised Messiahas also expressed that it was indeed the age of the appearance of the Messiah.
The Promised Messiahas has said:
“In this age, the world is brimming with disagreements. The Jews say one thing, whereas the Christians profess another and aside from this, the ummah of Muhammad is mired in internal conflicts. Meanwhile, the idolaters present their opinions against all of the others. So many new religions and beliefs have arisen that everyone seems to be practicing their own unique brand of religion. Therefore, in conformity with the established practice of Allah, it was essential that a hakam [arbiter] should have come to settle all of these disputes. Hence, that very hakam was bestowed the titles ‘the Promised Messiah’ and ‘the Blessed Mahdi’, meaning that, he was deemed to be the Messiah on account of resolving external disputes and he was proclaimed the destined Mahdi on account of settling the internal conflicts.” (The Philosophy of Divine Revelation [English translation of Haqiqatul Wahi], p. 57)
The writings and sayings of the Promised Messiahas comprehensively shed light on the conditions and circumstances of his time. Moreover, he frequently drew attention of the people of his age that he was sent as the Messiah by God Almighty because the need of the time demanded his appearance.
In his book, Kitab-ul-Bariyya, the Promised Messiahas states:
“All the indications mentioned in the Holy Quran and the ahadith with regard to the Promised Messiah have been combined in me and in my age and in my country; as, for instance, the age and the country and the town in which the Promised Messiah was to appear, and the circumstances which called specially for his advent, and the earthly and heavenly occurrences which had been specified as indications of his advent, and the knowledge and learning that were to be his characteristic, have all been combined in me. In addition to these, and to provide further satisfaction, I have been strengthened by Heavenly support.
چوں مرا حكم از پئے قوم مسیحى دادہ اند
مصلحت را ابن مریم نام من بنہادہ اند
آسماں بارد نشان الوقت مى گوید زمیں
ایں دو شاہد از پئے تصدیق من استادہ اند
[As I was invested with authority for the Christians, I was, therefore, named the Son of Mary. Heaven is showing signs and the earth proclaims that this is the time. These two witnesses stand firm in my support.]
“The detail of the above is that the indication given in the text of the Holy Quran proves that the Holy Prophetsa appeared in the likeness of Mosesas, and that the chain of Khilafat after the Holy Prophetsa would be very similar to the chain of Khilafat established after Mosesas. Just as Prophet Mosesas was promised that in the Latter Days – i.e. when the prophethood of Bani Israel would reach its limit and Bani Israel would be divided into many sects, each contradicting the other, so much so that some would declare others to be infidels – God Almighty would raise a successor, i.e. Prophet Jesusas, to support the faith of Mosesas; he would gather the scattered sheep of Israel, and bring sheep and wolves together at one place, and he would be an Arbiter for all the sects of Bani Israel, and he would iron out their differences and remove all rancour and ill-will; likewise, a similar promise was made by the Holy Quran in the verse:
وَّ اٰخَرِیْنَ مِنۡہُمۡ لَمَّا یَلۡحَقُوۡا بِہِمۡ
“[Others from among them who have not yet joined them. (Surah al-Jumuah, Ch.62: V.4)] Many details of this are set out in the ahadith. For instance, it is mentioned that Muslims would become divided into as many sects as the Jews; they would contradict each other and brand each other as infidels; and would increase in hatred and enmity towards each other, till the time when the Promised Messiah would appear as an Arbiter. He would remove all rancour and hostility. During his time, the wolf and the sheep would be brought together.
“All historians are aware that, at the time of the advent of Jesusas, the Israelite sects were ridden with dissension and labelled each other as heretics and infidels. I have also appeared at a time when inner dissension has multiplied and each sect has started calling others kafir [disbeliever]. At such a time of dissension, the Muslims were in need of an arbiter. God has, therefore, sent me as one.” (Essence of Islam, Vol. 4, pp. 63-65, [Kitab-ul-Bariyya, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 13, pp. 254-257])
Explaining the time when the Latter-Day Messiah was to appear – according to the prophecies of the old scriptures, the Holy Quran, ahadith and saints – the Promised Messiahas said:
“The Jewish and the Christian prophecy that is inferred from the Bible affirms it; namely, that the Promised Messiah will be born at the end of the sixth millennium from the birth of Adam. According to the lunar calendar, which is the original calendar of the People of the Book, my birth took place at the end of the sixth millennium – and the birth of the Promised Messiah had, since the beginning of time, been preordained by God to take place at the end of the sixth millennium because the Promised Messiah is Khatamul-Khulafa [the seal of the Khulafa] and the last ought to have similarity with the first.
“Since Hazrat Adamas was born in the last part of the sixth day, it was necessary with respect to the parallelism that the last vicegerent – who is the last Adam – should also be born at the end of the sixth millennium. This is because each day of the seven days of God equals 1,000 years, as Allah Himself says:
وَ اِنَّ یَوۡمًا عِنۡدَ رَبِّكَ كَاَلۡفِ سَنَۃٍ مِّمَّا تَعُدُّوۡنَ
“[And verily, a day with your Lord is as a thousand years of your reckoning’. (Surah al-Hajj, Ch.22: V.48)] Authentic ahadith also bear out that the Promised Messiah would be born in the sixth millennium. (God Almighty has disclosed to me that, according to the Jumal [Abjad] system of numbers, the numerical value of the letters constituting Surah al-Asr indicates the number of years that have passed since the beginning of Adam up to the Holy Prophet, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. In accordance with this blessed surah, when calculated up to this age, the seventh millennium has now started. And according to this calculation, my birth has taken place in the sixth millennium.) This is why all those blessed with [spiritual] visions have not gone beyond the sixth millennium in fixing the time for the Promised Messiah and the outermost limit of the time of his advent is stated as the 14th century Hijrah. (See Hijajul-Kiramah, compiled by Nawab Siddiq Hasan Khan of Bhopal)
“Muslims who were gifted with spiritual visions have foretold that the Promised Messiah – who is the last Khalifa and Khatamul-Khulafa – is like Adam in that he would be born at the end of sixth Millennium, just as Adam was born at the end of the sixth day.” (The Philosophy of Divine Revelation [English translation of Haqiqatul Wahi], pp. 252-253)
On another occasion, the Promised Messiahas said:
“The Holy Quran clearly and markedly draws a parallel between the successorship of both the Israelite and Ishmaelite dispensations. This is apparent from the following verse:
وَعَدَ اللّٰہُ الَّذِیْنَ اٰمَنُوۡا مِنۡكُمۡ وَ عَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ لَیَسۡتَخۡلِفَنَّہُمۡ فِى الۡاَرۡضِ كَمَا اسۡتَخۡلَفَ الَّذِیْنَ مِنۡ قَبۡلِہِمۡ
“[Allah has promised to those among you who believe and do good works that He will surely make them Successors in the earth, as He made Successors from among those who were before them’. (Surah al-Nur, Ch.24: V.56)] The last successor of the Israelite dispensation who appeared in the fourteenth century after Mosesas, was the Messiahas of Nazareth. In parallel to this, it was necessary for the Messiah of this Ummah to also appear at the head of the 14th century. Additionally, those blessed with visions have declared this century to be the one in which the Messiah would appear.
“Hazrat Shah Waliullah Sahibrh and others from among the Ahl-e-Hadith all agree that all the alamaat-e-sughra [minor signs] and to some extent the alamaat-e-kubra [major signs] have been fulfilled. However, they have erred somewhat in this respect. All of the signs have been fulfilled.
“The major sign or hallmark of the one who is to appear can be found in [Sahih] Bukhari as follows:
یَكْسِرُ الصَّلِیْبَ وَیَقْتُلُ الْخِنْزِیْرَ
“In other words, ‘The era in which the Messiah shall descend is marked by the dominance of Christianity and prevalent worship of the cross.’
“Is this not such a time? Has there been such a time from the era of Adamas until now when such harm was ever inflicted upon Islam by the Christian priests? Division has plagued every country. There is no Muslim family who has not lost a member or so to their hands. Hence, the era of he who was to come is one in which worship of the cross would be dominant. What could be more dominating than what we see now? Vicious attacks like those of ravenous beasts have been made against Islam.
“Is there a single group that has not made the most savage of remarks against the Noble Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and hurled abuse at him? If now is not the time for the advent of the awaited one, the earliest that he can appear now is after a hundred years, for a divinely appointed mujaddid [reformer] must always appear at the head of the century.
“Now, does Islam possess enough strength to combat the ever-increasing dominance of the Christian priests for another century? This ascendancy has reached its pinnacle and the one who was to appear has come. Now, he shall destroy the Anti-Christ with clinching argumentation, for it is recorded in the hadith that nations would be overturned, not people themselves or the individuals that comprise these nations. And so has it occurred.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 1, pp. 47-48)
In one of his couplets, the Promised Messiahas says:
وقت تھا وقتِ مسیحا نہ كسى اَور كا وقت
میں نہ آتا تو كوئى اَور ہى آیا ہوتا
“This was indeed the appointed time for none other than the Messiah; Had I not been appointed, someone else would surely have appeared!” (Durr-e-Sameen, p. 196)
God Almighty gave countless signs to the Promised Messiahas to support his claim and to indicate the time of his arrival. The opponents say that he made up all those signs by himself to attract the attention of the common people. However, the signs which were granted to the Promised Messiahas are so manifest and powerful that rational minds could not possibly argue that there was any other hand behind those signs except that of God Almighty.
For example, the sign of the solar and lunar eclipse. In this regard, the Promised Messiahas says:
“Another sign in support of the awaited one is that in his era, during the month of Ramadan, the solar and lunar eclipses would occur. Those who ridicule divine signs in fact mock God Himself. For the solar and lunar eclipse to take place after the claim of the awaited one is something that no one could possibly forge or fabricate.
“Before this, no such solar or lunar eclipse had taken place. This was a sign by which Allah the Exalted was to proclaim the arrival of the awaited one throughout the entire world. And so, upon witnessing this sign, the Arabs have also proclaimed its truth, as is their nature. Wherever our announcements could not reach to serve as public pronouncements, this solar and lunar eclipse announced the coming of the era of the awaited one.
“This was a sign of God completely free from human machination. No matter how strictly philosophical a person may be, they ought to reflect and contemplate that when the appointed sign has been fulfilled, it necessarily follows that the one in whose favour the sign was manifested, must also be present. This was not a matter that could have been predetermined because it was stated that the sign would be manifested after a person who claimed to be the Mahdi had appeared. The Noble Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, also said that no such incident would have occurred from the time of Adamas to this Mahdi. If anyone can historically show otherwise, I shall accept.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 1, pp. 48-49)
Alluding to the need and time of his arrival, the Promised Messiahas said:
“In every respect, the perfection of guidance took place during the first advent of the Holy Prophetsa and the perfection of the propagation of faith (i.e. the spread of this message) was to take place through the second advent of the Holy Prophetsa. This is because the verse in Surah al-Jumuah that reads, ‘And there are others from among them’ demands that another group of people should also be prepared through his grace and guidance. From this, it becomes clear that there is another advent of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa and this advent, in the form of a buruzi manifestation [spiritual reflection of the Holy Prophetsa], is taking place in this era.
“Hence, this age is one in which there was to be a complete spread of this faith. This is also why all means of communication and conveyance are also reaching their pinnacle. There is a multitude of publishing houses, countless printing presses and with each day, there are further improvements and developments in publishing and printing. There is also the use of courier and mail services and the emergence of post offices, wired mail, the railroad, aeroplanes and the publication of newspapers – all of these things have combined to transform the world into a global village.
“In actual fact, these advancements are in service to the Holy Prophetsa because through them, the perfect renaissance of Islam, i.e. the complete spread and delivery of his message, is taking place.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 4, p. 10)
Thus, it was high time for the advent of the Promised Messiahas and mankind was desperate for a saviour and a reformer. The ummah of the Holy Prophetsa was especially in dire need of an imam.
Referring to this point, the Promised Messiahas states:
“O people! Allah’s argument has been clinched against you; so, whereto do you flee? And certainly His Signs have appeared from all sides.
“Islam has descended into the cave of banishment and its commandments are not being practised. Every calamity has descended upon it, every affliction has exposed its canine teeth for it and every misfortune has opened its door to it. The sixth millennium, during which the Messiah was promised to appear, has already passed. So what do you think? Did Allah go against His promise or did He fulfil it?
“Do you not see how all nations have united against this religion? They have attacked it together like a pack of wild beasts that emerges suddenly from behind a single cluster of trees. Islam has become like a lonely outcast and the target of every transgressor. It is Eid for the opponents, but ours is the moon of Dhul-Qa‘dah [one of the four Islamic months in which fighting is forbidden by God Almighty]. We sit in utmost fear and terror, as if vanquished by the disbelievers. They malign our religion and their taunts are worse than the attacks of spears.
“In the face of all that, my Lord appointed me at the turn of the century. Do you think that He sent me without necessity? By Allah, I see that the need [for my advent] is greater than in previous times. Good fortune has disappeared like a slave who has fled.
“Islam was like a man with a wonderful physique and handsome face, but now you will see the ugliness of religious innovations and the wounds of fabricated rituals on its face. And its robustness has turned into frailty, the clear water of its spring into murky water, its light into darkness and its mansions into wastelands.
“It has become like a home with no inhabitants or like a honeycomb with nothing left in it except the bees. How can you imagine that God did not send a mujaddid [reformer] in this age when this was the precise time for bringing down the heavenly food – not for folding up the dining table? How can you imagine that the Benevolent God did not want to reform mankind in the face of this profusion of innovations and flood of evils.” (The Philosophy of Divine Revelation, pp. 814-815 [English Translation of Al-Istifta in Haqiqatul Wahi])
Hence, it is unwise to deny the Messiahas of Muhammadsa in the presence of countless conclusive arguments in his favour. The pitiable condition of the world was crying for a reformer, so Allah the Almighty sent the Imam Mahdias to fulfil his promise and cater its needs.
Thus, the most suitable age of the Promised Messiah’sas arrival was when Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas was appointed by God Almighty as the Messiah and Mahdi of this age.
(Research support by Awwab Saad Hayat, Al Hakam)