The Promised Messiah [Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian]
Prophecy fulfilled by one who started Propagation of Islam to the West
by Maulana Muhammad Ali
The Light & Islamic Review (US), January/February 1993 Issue (Vol. 70, No. 1, pp. 8–9, 12)
Note by the Editor: This article is taken from the Maulana’s booklet ‘Islam and the Present War’, written during the Second World War in 1943, in which he describes how the wars between the great powers in modern times are a part of a chain of prophecies given in the Holy Quran and Hadith. Within those prophecies is also given the news of the coming of the Messiah among the Muslims who would lead them to spread Islam to these nations, thus restoring peace among the warring factions. In the extracts below, the fulfilment of this prophecy in the person of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is discussed.
There are many people who say that if the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement [Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian] had claimed only to be a Mujaddid [Reformer] there would have been no difficulty in accepting him as such, but he made a further claim to be the Promised Messiah. The question, however, is, Do not the most reliable hadith of the Prophet foretell the advent of the Messiah among the Muslims? The hadith relating this prophecy are met with in the Sahih Bukhari which is
“the most authentic book after the Book of God”
by the unanimous verdict of the Muslim community. They are also met with in the Sahih Muslim, which comes next to Bukhari. Nay, they are met with in every one of the Sihah Sitta, the six reliable collections of Hadith accepted by the Ahl Sunna. They are also met with in all collections of Hadith accepted by the Shias.
Basis of Hazrat Mirza’s [Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian] Claim:
The prophecies of the advent of the Messiah have thus been unanimously accepted by the Muslim community, by every generation of Islam from beginning till now. The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, therefore, introduced no innovation into Islam when he claimed to be the Messiah that was promised to appear. It is true that the Muslims generally thought that Jesus Christ had been taken up alive to heaven and that he himself would come down again. But on the basis of the clearest verdict of the Quran, the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement held that Jesus Christ died just as all other prophets had died, so that the Christ-to-come will be a Mujaddid (reformer) who would come in the spirit and power of Christ. It is in this sense that the Ahmadiyya community accepts him as the Promised Messiah, i.e., it accepts that all the prophecies in connection with the Christ-to-come have been fulfilled in him.
Options for Muslims:
Now there are only two alternatives: either Christ is sitting alive somewhere in the heavens or the prophecies with regard to the advent of the Messiah must apply to a Mujaddid of this community. The first alternative is now not accepted by a majority of the Ulama [clerics]. In India, scholars like Maulvi Abul Kalam Azad and Sayyid Sulaiman Nadawi hold the view that Jesus Christ died as other prophets had died. In Egypt, the late Mufti Muhammad Abduh and his pupil Sayyid Rashid Raza held the same view. So, there is no help accepting the second alternative — that the Messiah will be a reformer of this community.
The only other course open to a Muslim is to deny the vast number of hadith relating to the advent of the Messiah and thus to discredit Hadith itself. The only fault that lies with the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement is that, having found the death of Christ as an established fact, he gave a true expression to the spirit of Islam and a true lead to the Muslims by explaining the natural conclusions thereof. The rest of the Ulama who admit the death of Christ — and a very large number of them belong to this category — do not lead the Muslims anywhere; they keep quiet and leave the ummah [Muslim nation] in utter darkness.
Hazrat Mirza gives Clear Explanation:
The position of the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement is thus clear. He accepted the hadith relating to the appearance of the Messiah as authentic, and on the other hand he found that the Holy Quran did not lend the least support to the idea that Jesus Christ was alive; it rather stated in clear and definite words that he was dead. The coming back of Jesus Christ to this earth was therefore impossible for this reason, as well as for the equally good reason that no prophet could come after the Holy Prophet Muhammad who was the Last Prophet. He, therefore, under Divine guidance interpreted the advent of the Messiah as meaning that someone from among the Muslims themselves will appear in the spirit and power of Christ, and that he himself was that man and that reformer.
Other Ulama, in spite of their belief in the death of Jesus, are not prepared to offer any solution of this problem. They do not state clearly whether the hadith concerned are to be accepted as authentic as they undoubtedly are and as the Muslims have hitherto held them to be, or they must be rejected.
Other Connected Prophecies:
Another difficulty is that the prophecy relating to the advent of the Messiah is clearly connected with the prophecies relating to the appearance of Dajjal (Anti-Christ) and Gog and Magog, and this last-mentioned prophecy finds clear mention in the Holy Quran. Nay, this particular prophecy has seen its fulfilment in a very tangible manner. Hence even if the hadith speaking of the advent of the Messiah and Dajjal be discarded as spurious, it is impossible to reject the Holy Quran and that in face of palpable facts which have brought about the fulfilment of these prophecies in an undeniable manner. The Holy Quran says in very clear language that Gog and Magog shall appear, and after having prevailed over all nations of the world, will start fighting among themselves. The Holy Prophet [Muhammad (pbuh)] has said that the appearance of Gog and Magog and Dajjal will take place at the same time as the advent of the Messiah. If the Messiah is rejected, with him will have to be rejected not only the Hadith but also those parts of the Holy Quran which speak of Gog and Magog. What is more, all those patent facts which have taken place in confirmation of these prophecies will have to be rejected as well. Is that position acceptable to any Muslim?
Whole Chain of Events:
It is the narrow-mindedness of the religious leaders and the indifference of enlightened Muslims towards their religion that has unanimously made a tangle of the claim of the Promised Messiah. The question was a simple one. The Holy Quran states that the faith of Islam was to receive a formidable opposition at the hands of the Arab idolaters in the lifetime of the Holy Prophet, and prophesies in clear words that this opposition was to melt away and the religion of Islam was to become the dominant religion in Arabia during the Prophet’s own life. This prophecy was fulfilled before his very eyes. Similarly, the Book speaks of another great opposition which the faith of Islam was to encounter at the hands of the Christian nations, and which was to come later, and prophesies in a similar clear language that in the end this opposition will also collapse and the world in general will be drawn towards Islam.
The nations at whose hands the progress of Islam would receive a set-back are spoken of as holding to the doctrine of a son of God (The Holy Quran, Chapter 18, verse 4), but they are at the same time spoken of as being entirely materialistic in their outlook of life and as applying themselves entirely to things mundane, carrying worldly arts and crafts to their perfection (18:104); due to their pre-occupation with worldly gains and wealth they will forget God, so much so that they will not even hear the mention of God, their real object of worship being the god of wealth (18:101); they will acquire possession of every eminence in the world (21:96); but having subjugated all will, in the end, come in conflict with one another (18:99); this strife of theirs will assume such proportions that they will experience a veritable hell in this world (18:100); but ultimately their eyes will open and they shall perceive that there can be no peace in the world without accepting the sovereignty of the One God (18:110); and then they will unite in one single religion (18:99).
In the Hadith there is a prophecy about this, their ultimate acceptance of one single religion, the religion of Divine Unity, saying that a Messiah will appear among the Muslims, who will invite these Western nations to the religion of Islam, so much so that with his appearance the sun of Islam will rise from the West. The reality of all these prophecies remained almost clothed in mystery for the Muslims in general till the appearance of the Mujaddid of the fourteenth century hijra [Islamic Era] took place. When this Mujaddid was engaged in replying to the charges levelled against Islam by the Christians, Arya Samajists, Brahmo Samajists, atheists and others, the truth was revealed to him that the time had come for laying the foundations of the propagation of Islam in Europe; that this was the real work of the Messiah who was to appear in this community; that the Israelite Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, could not come back to this world, as firstly, according to the Quran he was dead, and secondly, the Holy Prophet was the last of the prophets and no prophet could follow him; and that the prophecies that spoke of the coming of the Messiah and the dawning of the glory of Islam, were fulfilled in his advent.
Thus, in the very first book which was published under the name Izala Auham in 1891, in which he had proved the death of Jesus and advanced his own claim to be the Promised Messiah, he also threw light on the reality of Gog and Magog (Yajuj and Majuj) and laid the basis of the propagation of Islam in Europe:
“In short, Dajjal will be devoid of spiritual wisdom and though he will be sharp in worldly wisdom and will make great inventions and show great wonders as if he were claiming god-head, yet he will have no spiritual eye, just as we find today is the case with the people of Europe and America that they have gone to the utmost extent in worldly planning.” (p. 501)
“As for Gog and Magog, they are decidedly two very prosperous nations of the world. Both of them are directing their attacks from a height towards what is beneath their feet, i.e., they are winning victories by dint of their God-given powers. … These are two old nations who could not openly prevail upon others in former ages on account of their weak condition. But God says that in the latter age both these nations will emerge out in the world, i.e., will appear in their glorious power. And as stated in the Quran, … these nations, having vanquished others, will come in conflict with one another.” (pp. 502–508)
“The rising of the sun from the west [a prophecy of the Holy Prophet Muhammad about the latter days] means that the Western countries, which have been from very early times wallowing in the darkness of unbelief and misguidance, will be illuminated by the sun of truth and will have a share in Islam.” (p. 516)
All Prophecies Fulfilled:
Now, only a cursory glance will show that the prophecy about the Promised Messiah is not a solitary and detached prophecy which can be applied to anyone at random. It is rather a link in the chain of those mighty prophecies wherein it has been made clear that Islam will have to face in a later age an opposition similar to the one which it had to experience in its early history which the powerful hand of God brought to naught; that when that opposition will have reached its climax it will also be smashed in the same way so as to make Islam predominant in the world; and that the foundations of this victory will be laid by the person who will appear in this community under the title of Messiah.
All these prophecies — the appearance of Dajjal and Gog and Magog, their attempts to overthrow Islam, their mutual animosity, the appearance of the Messiah and his laying down the foundations of the preaching of Islam among these people in order that the sun of Islam may shine in this latter age in the West as it did in the East in a previous age — all these together form a chain so that none of them can be detached from the others. Conjointly fulfilled, they add to the glory of Islam.
It will follow as an inevitable conclusion that none but the person to whom was revealed the real significance of these prophecies, and whose hands laid the foundations of that preaching of Islam which is destined to bring about the predominance of Islam in the world — none but he can be the Promised Messiah of the prophecies.