“Our Jamaat must not adhere to mere verbal claims alone and should not be satisfied on simply taking the pledge of Bai‘at. Instead, they should bring a [positive] change in themselves. Ponder over the fact that the army of Mosesas was affected by the outbreak of plague on various occasions. The enemies must have rejoiced but Mosesas would have been deeply affected by the situation. It is written [in the books of history] that the epidemic claimed 80,000 lives due to the curse of Balam. Although many others were sinful as well but the followers of Mosesas were dually responsible. Very few people purify their hearts.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 4, pp. 68-69)
Referring to the above-mentioned extract, the opponents of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas suggest that the founder of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat pointed out on 31 October 1902 that it might be possible that members of the Jamaat pass away in greater numbers as compared to others [due to the outbreak of plague].
The aforementioned excerpt of the Promised Messiahas clearly shows that he said nothing of the sort. Certainly, he is guiding members of the Jamaat to produce a righteous change in themselves, as was the practice of earlier prophets. Hence, Allah the Almighty has declared in the Holy Quran:
“And he [the prophet] purifies them” (Surah Al-e-Imran, Ch.3: V.165). This has been declared as an integral task from among the responsibilities of the Holy Prophetsa. At another place, Allah the Almighty states in the Holy Quran:
قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَنْ تَزَكَّى
“Verily, he truly prospers who purifies himself.” (Surah al-A‘la, Ch.87: V.15)
Here, it should be noted that the achievement of true prosperity has not been linked with the simple pledge of Bai‘at.
Examining the accounts of earlier prophets mentioned in the Holy Quran, we find that every prophet advises his nation to be remorseful and seek forgiveness. Hence, it is stated in the Holy Quran regarding prophets Noahas, Hudas, Salehas, Lotas and Shuaibas that they directed their people by saying:
إِنِّي لَكُمْ رَسُوْلٌ أَمِيْنٌ ۔ فَاتَّقُوا اللّٰهَ وَأَطِيْعُوْنِ
“Surely, I am to you a Messenger, entirely trustworthy. So fear Allah and obey me.” (Surah al-Shuara, Ch.2: V.144-145)
In the same manner, the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat guided members of his Jamaat to strive towards virtuous development.
Giving the example of the spread of plague in the followers of Mosesas, Hazrat Ahmadas elucidated the fact that even the believers of a prophet could suffer a torment if they refrained from acting upon the teachings sent by Allah the Almighty, as it is stated in the Holy Quran:
فَأَنْزَلْنَا عَلَى الَّذِيْنَ ظَلَمُوْا رِجْزًا مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ بِمَا كَانُوْا يَفْسُقُونَ
“So We sent down upon the transgressors a punishment from heaven, because they were disobedient.” (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.60)
Pondering over the Holy Quran, we come to know that simply performing the Bai‘at is not enough for salvation. In fact, it is the first step towards faith. Hence, Allah the Almighty states in the Holy Quran:
قَالَتِ الْأَعْرَابُ آمَنَّا ۖ قُلْ لَّمْ تُؤْمِنُوْا وَلٰكِنْ قُوْلُوْا أَسْلَمْنَا وَلَمَّا يَدْخُلِ الْإِيْمَانُ فِيْ قُلُوْبِكُمْ
“The Arabs of the desert say, ‘We believe.’ Say, ‘You have not believed yet; but rather say, we have accepted Islam for the true belief has not yet entered into your hearts.’” (Surah al-Hujurat, Ch.49: V.15)
Accordingly, the Promised Messiahas said:
“Our Jamaat must not adhere to mere verbal claims alone and should not be satisfied on simply taking the pledge of Bai‘at.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 4, pp. 68-69)
The opponents move on to cite another extract of the Promised Messiahas, dated 25 November 1902, and assert that it contradicts his earlier statement. Below is the exact quotation of the founder of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat which is pointed out by opponents:
“The [present] plague epidemic has not come as a disease. It has only appeared to reform people. You should not correct yourselves from [the fear of] its chastisement, but instead, reform yourselves for the sake of Allah the Almighty, so that you stay free of Shirk [attributing partners to Allah]. Certain people raise the objection that it [the plague] only takes the lives of the poor. It is another kind of helplessness. Instead of learning a lesson, they object. Several others say that it is a mere disease therefore it has nothing to do with worship, fasting, good and bad deeds, and that one should get it treated from doctors. Hence, recklessness has gone beyond imagination. However, the plague is a mirror of God through which He shall manifest himself.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 4, p. 233)
The above-mentioned excerpt clearly shows that the opponents have shot an arrow in the dark as there is not the slightest contradiction between this statement of the Promised Messiahas and the one mentioned at the start. Moreover, if the opponents had really found any kind of contradiction, it was their responsibility to point it out. On the contrary, they have deceitfully presented a statement of the Promised Messiahas in their own words and simply said that it contradicts his earlier statement. This indicates that they have nothing to support their argument.
Referring to the same extract, opponents suggest that these “contradictory” statements of the Promised Messiahas threw the Ahmadiyya Jamaat into confusion and disorganised it soon after the demise of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira. Even within his lifetime, they suggest, dissensions began to take root.
Allah the Almighty lays down a key principle to understand the matters of faith. He states in the Holy Quran:
لَقَدْ كَانَ فِي قَصَصِهِمْ عِبْرَةٌ لِّأُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ
“Assuredly, in their [prophets’] narrative there is a lesson for men” (Surah Yusuf, Ch.12: V.112). It means that every matter should be resolved in light of the accounts of prophets. If it is in accordance with the instances of prophets, it is to be considered correct, and if it is against them, it is false.
The opponents have levelled this allegation out of spite because the one who is divinely commissioned cannot be held responsible for the issues that caused dissensions in his Jamaat after his demise. If the objection is considered true, then every prophet would come under its impact. God forbid, it would hugely affect the most dignified and innocent soul of the Holy Prophetsa as his Ummah has been divided into countless sects. Even today, Muslims are killing each other due to their mutual disputes and every sect is a vivid testimony of:
كُلُّ حِزْبٍ بِمَا لَدَيْهِمْ فَرِحُوْنَ
“Every party is rejoicing in what they have” (Surah al-Rum, Ch.30: V.33). The same is the case of earlier prophets.
Is it rational and logical to hold Mosesas and Jesusas accountable for their peoples being divided into various sects?
Certain issues led to dissension in the Jamaat after the demise of the Promised Messiahas but the seeker of truth can easily decide between right and wrong by witnessing that group which is blessed with divine succour. Moreover, one can easily observe that Jamaat which is a living testimony of the prophecies of the Holy Prophetsa and the founder of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat regarding the revival of Islam and Khilafat on the precepts of prophethood. However, only that person can recognise this fact who is free from enmity and follows the guidance laid down by the Holy Prophetsa in the following Hadith:
Hazrat Huzayfa bin al-Yamanra narrates, “I asked the Holy Prophetsa, ‘Will there be a period of evil upon our Ummah?’ to which he replied, ‘Yes, my Ummah will also experience an age of evil.’ Then I asked, ‘What do you instruct me to do if such an evil period comes upon our Ummah?’ He said, ‘Hold fast to the Jamaat of Muslims and their Imam.’ I said, ‘What if there is neither a Jamaat of Muslims nor an Imam?’ He replied, ‘Then turn away from all those sects even if you have to bite [eat] at the roots of a tree till death overtakes you in that state.’” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Fitan)
In the above-mentioned Hadith, the Holy Prophetsa guides us to side with that Jamaat of Muslims which is being led by an imam who is selected by Allah the Almighty. Certainly, a mere scholar or an imam of a mosque is not meant by this Imam, but only a prophet or a khalifa could be considered that Imam.
There is only one group or Jamaat that openly declares their Khalifa to be elected by God and that he is the successor of the Promised Messiahas who was a prophet of God.
Hence, if a person seeks the truth, they must hold fast to the Imam of the age. However, if they are unable to identify that Imam foretold in the prophecy of the Holy Prophetsa, they should turn away from every other sect even if they have to survive by eating the roots of a tree till death overtakes them while they are in that state, otherwise they would be considered an opponent of the Holy Prophetsa.
Mentioning the same extract under discussion, the opponents point out that the Promised Messiahas considered the treatment of plague to be reckless and haughty. The original statement of the Promised Messiahas cited earlier surely denies these false assertions. On the other hand, he had commended the treatment of plague provided by the government. Hazrat Ahmadas states:
“There is no denying that this remedy [for plague] has proven to be effective.” (Noah’s Ark, p. 2)
The Promised Messiahas considered the attitude of those as reckless and haughty who said that it was a mere disease and therefore, instead of focusing on worship, fasting, good and bad deeds etc., one should get it treated from doctors.
(Research conducted by a panel of scholars at the Research Cell, Rabwah. Translated by Al Hakam)