This series, Zikr-e-Habib, explores the life of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, and his sayings, shedding light on his noble character and the impact of his teachings on his followers and the world at large.
Adam Ahmad, Al Hakam
Historical evidence substantiates that there is a sphere outside rational discourse for Prophets of Allah the Almighty in which heavenly support plays a critical role in authenticating the validity and relevance of a claim. According to this sunnah of God that “Most surely, We help Our Messengers” (Ch.40: V.52), the claimants of prophethood, apart from textual or intellectual arguments, receive abundant blessings of divine succour, authenticating their appointment by Allah the Almighty.
It is important to understand that divine assistance is not a mere hypothetical construct, but rather a manifest power that has consistently accompanied God’s messengers. For instance, promising great support to the Holy Prophetsa in the Holy Quran, Allah the Almighty states:
وَّيَنۡصُرَکَ اللّٰہُ نَصۡرًا عَزِيۡزًا
“And that Allah shall help thee with a mighty help.” (Surah al-Fath, Ch.48: V.4)
This heavenly support manifested itself in a variety of ways throughout Prophet Muhammad’ssa life, from the miraculous occurrences recounted in his biography to Islam’s final victory under his divine leadership. The Battle of Badr, the Treaty of Hudaibiyah, the Triumph of Mecca, etc., were all historical landmarks that demonstrated Allah’s incredible support for the Holy Prophetsa and his cause.
Likewise, God Almighty extended His support to the Latter-Day Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, who appeared from the ummah of Prophet Muhammadsa as prophesied in the Holy Quran and authenticated by the Hadith. Shedding light on the manifestation of divine assistance as proof of Prophets’ truthfulness, the Promised Messiahas said:
“The truth of the matter is that rational or textual arguments alone cannot fully substantiate such claims; it is also necessary that heavenly support should establish the blessings of the claimant [prophethood]. And this has been the divine practice vis-à-vis the Prophets, peace be upon them, from ancient times. […] In order to prove the truth of His true Prophet [Muhammadsa], God Almighty did not deem earlier prophecies to be sufficient, nor did He regard the other contextual arguments to be complete. Rather, He sent down many heavenly signs to testify to the Immaculate Prophet, so much so that the truthfulness of that Noble Prophet was fully established and the light of his truth shone like the Sun.
“Likewise, it should be understood that if my humble one is from God Almighty, and is true in his claims, God Almighty will demonstrate my truth with His special succour. And through His special signs, He will enlighten the world that I am from Him and not by my own designs. […]
“In short, God will establish my truthfulness the way He has been establishing the truthfulness of His true servants.” (Testimony of the Holy Quran, pp. 111-112)
Promises of Divine support
Before he was Divinely commissioned, Prophet Ahmadas generally preferred seclusion, but it is worth noting that the Promised Messiahas had great regard for the company of righteous elders. Hazrat Abdur Rahim Dardra MA narrates:
“Maulvi Abdullah of Ghazni (Afghanistan) was an eminent personage. He was persecuted in his native country by fanatics; and, having been declared an infidel, he was expelled from Ghazni. He used to live in the neighbourhood of Amritsar. [Prophet] Ahmadas visited this holy man twice and took some present for him when he went to see him. The object for which Ahmadas saw him was not for personal profit or fancy, but to request him to pray for the welfare of Islam.
“Once Ahmadas requested him for prayers at Khairdi, [British India], whereupon Maulvi Abdullah went to his house in the midday heat for that purpose and there received the following revelation:
اَنۡتَ مَوۡلٰٮنَا فَانۡصُرۡنَا عَلَي الۡقَوۡمِ الۡکٰفِرِيۡن
“‘Thou art our Master, help us therefore against the disbelieving people.’ He returned from his house at the time of Zuhr prayer and told Ahmadas with a smile, in Persian, which was his mother tongue, that he had received a revelation and interpreted it to mean that God would help Ahmadas as He helped the Companions[ra] of the Holy Prophetsa. When Ahmadas reached Qadian he confirmed the same thing in a letter.” (Life of Ahmadas, p. 63)
Consequently, Prophet Ahmadas was chosen by God Almighty to revive Islam, so continuing His sunnah of extending divine support, Allah sent him the following revelation:
قَدْ جَآءَ الدِّيْنُ مِنْ النُّصْرَةِ ثُمَّ سَيَعُوْدُ مِنْ النُّصْرَةِ
“The faith triumphed with Allah’s help in the beginning and will be revived with His help.” (Tadhkirah [English], p. 680)
The promises of divine support were fulfilled consistently and evidently at every stage of Prophet Ahmad’sas life. Soon after the demise of his father, Allah the Almighty comforted the heart of the Promised Messiahas with the words: اَلَيْسَ اللّٰہُ بِکَافٍ عَبۡدَہٗ, “Is Allah not sufficient for his servant?” Henceforth, God Almighty provided such strong support and succour to the Promised Messiahas that not only were his personal needs satisfied, but Allah also became his eternal Helper and Guardian in all respects.
Mirza Mubarak Ahmad Sahib relates:
“Dilating on an aspect of this Divine care and guardianship, at one place, he [Prophet Ahmadas] says with a feeling of extreme gratitude:
لُفَاظَاتُ الْمَوَائِدِ کَانَ اُکُلِيْ
وَصِرْتُ الْيَوْمَ مِطْعَامَ الْاَھَالِيْ
“There was a time when the crumbs fallen from the tables of others constituted my food, but today, by the Grace of Allah, whole families are being entertained at my table.” (The Promised Messiahas, p. 13)
Succour against opponents
Affirming His support against his enemies, Allah the Almighty sent the following revelation to Prophet Ahmadas:
اِنّيْ مُھِيْنٌ مَّنْ اَرَادَ اِھَانَتَکَ۔وَ اِنِّي مُعِيْنٌ مَنْ اَرَادَ اِعَانَتَکَ
“I shall humiliate him who designs to humiliate you. I shall help him who designs to help you.” (Tadhkirah [English], p. 582)
By His grace, God brought about the fulfilment of His promise to the Promised Messiahas, humbling his opponents and sending devoted helpers his way. Consequently, Dr Alexander Dowie died as a result of divine wrath when he did not pay heed to the warnings of Prophet Ahmadas. In a similar vein, Pundit Lekhram met his demise in 1897 after becoming a manifestation of a divine prophecy. Iain Adamson states:
“The Muslim divines preached against him [Prophet Ahmadas]. The Hindus denounced him. So did the Christian missionaries. They had money, position and power. But they were never able to silence him. He was always ready to debate, to put his beliefs before the people and let them judge. His opponents were not so ready and the Christians were absolutely adamant that they would not debate with him. When he was questioned why this was so, [Prophet] Ahmad[as] replied:
“‘God never favours the wicked with His support. He never lets down His good servants.’” (Ahmad[as], The Guided One, p. 289)
Absolute trust in support of Allah
Providing insight on his perfect trust in the support and succour of God Almighty, Mirza Mubarak Ahmad Sahib relates:
“One day, in open court, referring to the Promised Messiah’sas revelation, ‘I will certainly humiliate him who seeks to humiliate thee’, he [the magistrate] asked the Promised Messiahas whether he had received any revelation to the effect that God would humiliate the person who sought to humiliate him. The Promised Messiahas said confidently, and in a very dignified manner, ‘Yes, these are the words of God revealed to me. God has assured me that whoever will seek to humiliate me, shall himself be humiliated.’ The magistrate said, ‘Suppose, I were to humiliate you, what will then happen?’ Again, with the same confidence and dignity, the Promised Messiahas observed, ‘Whoever he may be, he shall be humiliated.’ To over-awe the Promised Messiah, peace be on him, the magistrate repeated his question, two or three times, and every time, the Promised Messiahas replied majestically in the same word: ‘Whoever he might be, he would be humiliated.’ The magistrate then held his peace.
“The second incident of that nature also pertains to the same milieu. One day the magistrate, Mr Chandu Lal, held court in the open. During the course of the proceedings, the magistrate asked the Promised Messiah, peace be on him, in a jesting tone whether he claimed to be able to show Divine signs. The Promised Messiahas replied, ‘Yes, God shows signs at my hands.’ Having answered the question, the Promised Messiahas was silent for a while, as if praying to God and entreating His succour, and then said with great dignity and full confidence, ‘I can show you any sign you like.’ The magistrate was greatly struck by this reply, and did not pursue the matter any further. Those within hearing were also deeply impressed.” (The Promised Messiahas, p. 39)
Hazrat Hakeem Noor-ud-Din, Khalifatul Masih Ira relates:
“During the course of a discussion, a tradition of the Holy Prophetsa was mentioned and an arrogant opponent demanded the reference from the Promised Messiah, peace be on him, forthwith, thinking that the Promised Messiahas would not be able to furnish it forthwith and would thus be publicly embarrassed. But the Promised Messiah, peace be on him, did not worry at all. He sent for a copy of the Sahih Bukhari and when it was brought, he held it in his hand, and started turning over its pages very rapidly. Reaching a certain page, he exclaimed: ‘Here is the reference.’ Those present were astonished to have seen that he had been turning over the pages without even scanning them carefully, and had yet found the reference.
“Later, someone asked him how it was that he went on turning over the pages without reading them, and, at last, stopping at a certain page, said, ‘Here is the reference.’ The Promised Messiah, peace be on him, explained, ‘When I was turning over the pages, holding the book in my hand, the pages appeared to be quite blank, nothing seemed to be written on them, till I found a page on which something was written, and I then firmly believed that, by God’s grace and succour, that was the reference I needed, and without any hesitation I put forward that reference before the opponent. It was the same reference the opponent had demanded.’” (Ibid., pp. 40-41)
Victory in The Conference of Great Religions
In 1896, the Promised Messiahas composed a paper on the insights and marvels of the Holy Quran that was read at The Conference of Great Religions in Lahore Town Hall. This treatise, also known as The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam, was prepared under God’s special assistance and thus declared a heavenly sign by Prophet Ahmadas, as he stated: “God the All Knowing, has informed me by revelation that this paper will tower above all others.” (Tadhkirah [English], p. 371)
Regarding the impact of the abovementioned sign of God’s support, Mirza Mubarak Ahmad Sahib narrates:
“All the writings of the Promised Messiah, peace be on him, his lectures and discourses, possess a special spiritual quality which attracts and impresses the mind and are proof of his being the recipient of Divine help and succour.
“Here I shall speak only of one writing and one speech, written and spoken with the help of special Divine grace. The first of these is ‘The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam’. It was written for the Religious Conference held at Lahore in the last days of December 1896, in which the representatives of all religions were invited to read papers written in the light of the teachings of their respective faiths on topics formulated by the conveners of the Conference. Detailed accounts of this Conference were published in the Press and were set forth in the Report of the Conveners of the Conference and in the later writings of the Promised Messiah, peace be on him. […]
“[Hazrat] Bhai Abdur Rahman[ra] says, ‘While the paper was being read, I heard Hindus, Sikhs, Aryas and Christians, saying spontaneously, Subhan-Allah, Subhan-Allah (Glory be to Allah! Glory be to Allah!). The audience, which consisted of thousands of people, was sitting motionless, like lifeless statues, listening with rapt attention. It would have been no wonder if birds had alighted and perched on their heads without being noticed. The paper seemed to have gripped all hearts; no sound, not even that of breathing, was audible except the sonorous tones of the reader of the paper. Would that I had the ability to describe even one tenth of what I saw and heard at that time! There was not a single heart that did not feel the joy and pleasure of the hour. There was not a single tongue that did not acknowledge and praise the beauty and excellence of the paper.
“I saw and heard many Hindus and Sikhs embracing Muslims, and saying, ‘If this is the teaching of the Quran, and if this is Islam, as described by Mirza Sahib, we shall be constrained to accept Islam tomorrow, if not today.’’” (The Promised Messiahas, pp. 47-48)
Iain Adamson recorded the press reports about this paper in his biography on the Promised Messiahas in the following sequence:
“The main newspaper of Lahore at that period was the ‘Civil and Military Gazette’. Its report of the conference read, ‘Particular interest centred in the lecture of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, a master in the apologetics of Islam. An immense gathering of all sects from far and near assembled to hear the lecture, which […] was read by one of his able scholars. On the 27th [December 1896], the lecture lasted for about three and half hours and was listened to with rapt attention, though so far it dealt only with the first question.’ […]
“‘Theosophical Notes’ a much-respected religious journal of the period, wrote, ‘The best and most attractive presentation of the faith of Muhammad[sa] which we have come across.’
“‘The Indian Review’ wrote, “Entertaining and pleasant reading, lucid, comprehensive and philosophical … evokes admiration. The book deserves to be in the hands of every Muhammadan student and also in the libraries of those who wish to know something of the Muhammadan religion.’
“The ‘Muslim Review’ wrote, ‘The reader will meet many true, profound, original and inspiring ideas which will interest Muslims and non-Muslims alike […] strongly commended.’
“In North America, the ‘Spiritual Journal’ declared it ‘pure Gospel’ and the ‘Chicago Daily News’ commented, ‘The devout and earnest character of the author is apparent.’
“In Great Britain it found its way into the hands of a religious reviewer of a West Country weekly newspaper who wrote, ‘Clearly, this is no ordinary person who thus addresses himself to the West.’” (Ahmad[as], The Guided One, pp. 144-145)
God’s assistance in Arabic knowledge
The Promised Messiahas received knowledge of Arabic through the direct support of Allah the Almighty. This heavenly succour made him proficient in Arabic, as Prophet Ahmadas says:
“One form of God’s support is manifested in a clear and evident manner, and this can be witnessed by the general public as well. However, there are certain hidden kinds of support. I am at a loss to think of any method by which I can show this hidden succour of God to the common masses. For example, there are my written works in Arabic. I know well the extent of my expertise in Arabic literature, but the fact is that when I begin to pen a treatise in Arabic, I am inspired with words – one after the other – which fit precisely in places that are most appropriate and apt. Do tell me, how am I to show you this form of divine succour whereby words are revealed upon my heart?” (Malfuzat [English], Vol. 1, p. 269)
On 11 April 1900, God Almighty assisted the Promised Messiahas to deliver an extempore sermon in eloquent Arabic language. This sermon is known as Khutba Ilhamiyah (The Revealed Sermon). Regarding this heavenly-inspired sermon, Hazrat Maulvi Abdullahra writes:
“Syed Abdul Hayy Arab Sahibra, who came from Arabia and stayed in Qadian for many days for the purpose of research and later took bai‘at of the Promised Messiahas, described the incident of his bai‘at to this humble one.
“He said, ‘After reading the expressive and eloquent books of the Promised Messiahas, I was convinced in my heart that no one can write such words without the support of God. However, I was not certain that those works were of the Promised Messiahas, even though Hazrat Maulvi Nuruddin[ra] Sahib and other scholars used to assure me of this and testify […]. I continued to stay in Qadian to examine this matter, so that I too could see for myself any incident of divine succour. Thus, the time of the revelation of Khutba Ilhamiyah came and I witnessed with my own eyes the revelation of this prophetic and miraculous sermon. I heard with my own ears that without the help of any other person, this man was delivering such a powerful and moving sermon before the entire gathering in broad daylight. Hence, after listening to this sermon, I took bai‘at with full sincerity of heart.’” (Ashab-e-Ahmad, Vol. 7, p. 188; Al Hakam, 18 September 2020, Vol. 3, Issue 131, p. 9)
Helpers of God
At a time when it seemed impossible, God Almighty gave the following glad tidings to the Promised Messiahas:
اَلٓا إِنَّ نَصْرَ اللّٰہِ قَرِيْبُ ۔ يَأْتِيْکَ مِنْ کُلِّ فَجٍّ عَمِيْقٍ ۔ يَأْتُونَ مِنْ کُلِّ فَجٍّ عَمِيْقٍ۔ يَنْصُرُکَ رِجَالٌ نُوحِيْ إِلَيْہِمْ مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ
“Hearken! The help of Allah is near. His help will reach you from every distant track. Your helpers will come from every distant track. Men will help you whom We shall direct from heaven.”
Referring to this promise, Prophet Ahmadas states:
“The maulvis did create obstacles, and tried their utmost to stop people from turning to me, so much so that religious edicts were obtained even from Makkah, and nearly 200 maulvis issued edicts of apostasy against me. Even edicts that I deserved to be killed were published. But they were frustrated in all their efforts and the result was that my Jamaat spread throughout all the towns and villages of the Punjab, and took root in many places throughout India. In fact, even some Europeans and Americans embraced Islam and joined this Jamaat. So many people flocked to Qadian that the road to Qadian became rutted at several places by the sheer number of horse-driven carriages. One must reflect very carefully upon this prophecy, and deliberate over it with careful consideration: Had this prophecy not been from God, this storm of opposition that had arisen, causing the population throughout the entire Punjab and India to turn against me to the point they wanted to crush me under their feet, would certainly have succeeded in its arduous efforts and would have destroyed me. But they failed one and all.” (The Philosophy of Divine Revelation, p. 320)
One cannot help but acknowledge the undeniable divine assistance and support bestowed upon the Promised Messiahas. Prophet Ahmadas says, “Now, my claim that I have been raised at the head of this century for the revival of the Faith is clear. I emphatically proclaim that Allah the Exalted has divinely commissioned me, and over twenty-two years have since passed. The divine support that I have received over such an extended period of time serves as an argument and proof of Allah Almighty against you. For the claim that I have made of being the Reformer, and of being sent to put right the disorders that have become prevalent, is on the foundation of the Hadith and Quran. Now those who deny me, do not deny me, they deny Allah and His Messenger. These people have no right to reject me, until they present another Reformer who would take my place, because the state of the present age and time demands the coming of a Reformer.” (Malfuzat [English], Vol. 3, p. 258)