Four Excellent Qualities bestowed upon Saints
From the Book ‘Tiryaq-ul-Qulub’
by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadia
The Light & Islamic Review (US), November/December 1997 Issue (Vol. 74, No. 6, pp. 3–4)
Editor’s Note: The verse 4:69 of the Holy Quran tells us that those who obey Allah and His Messenger are “with” or “in the company of” the prophets, the truthful (siddiq), the faithful (shahid) and the righteous (salih). Despite the fact that it most certainly does not say that a Muslim can become a prophet by obeying Allah and the Messenger, the Qadianis are always citing this verse in support of their wrong belief that prophets can arise from among Muslims. Below we translate a lengthy explanation of this verse as given by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. It is absolutely clear from his explanation that what the verse means is that saints (auliya) among Muslims attain four kinds of qualities, and the quality of the prophets which they attain is the receiving of knowledge of the unseen from God, in the manner, of course, in which saints receive revelation. Hazrat Mirza has repeatedly used the word ‘saint’ in this writing, and he has not even remotely suggested that this verse promises that a Muslim can become a prophet.
It should be borne in mind that a comprehensive knowledge of matters unseen is not granted to those who do not have sound connections with God; and though it is possible for such persons to have the occasional true dream or true vision, but the necessary condition for sainthood (wilayat) and acceptance by God is that unseen matters and hidden affairs should be revealed to the person in much greater abundance than to anyone else in the whole world, so that none can rival this abundance. It is worth remembering that whenever Almighty God, out of His great grace, bestows upon some person the robe and status of sainthood, He grants him clear distinction over his peers and his contemporaries in all of four things. And if such distinction is found in anyone, then it becomes necessary to believe, surely and certainly, that he is one of those perfect servants and exalted saints of God whom He has himself chosen and trained under His special guidance.
The four things that mark out the perfect saints and men of God are four qualities granted to them to serve as signs and miracles. In each of these qualities they have a clear and plain distinction over others; in fact, these accomplishments reach the grade of miracles. Such a man is like the philosopher’s stone, and only he reaches this rank who has, since eternity, been chosen to benefit the world. The four qualities, which are as four signs or miracles, and which distinguish one who is a great saint (wali) and master and chief of the saints, are as follows.
First Quality — Receiving Revelation:
Firstly, matters of the unseen should, after supplication or by other means, be disclosed to him in such abundance, and many prophecies be fulfilled so clearly, that no other person could rival him in respect of abundance of quantity and clarity of condition. And as regards this abundance and clarity, it should be not only improbable, but impossible, that someone else could have a share of these qualities. That is to say, it should be entirely impossible that someone else could parallel or rival these qualities in terms of secrets of the unseen revealed, acceptance of his prayers and prior intimation of the same to him, and signs of support that appear in heaven and earth. And he should, by way of miracle and in an extraordinary manner, be granted such divine knowledge of the unseen, luminous visions and heavenly support, as if a gigantic river were flowing and a glorious light descending from heaven and spreading on the earth; and these things should reach the stage where they appear to be miraculous and unequalled in their time. This excellence is called the excellence of prophethood.
Second Quality — Truth:
The second excellence that is necessary as a sign for the leader of the saints and chief of the purified ones is the attainment of the higher understanding and knowledge of the Quran. It is necessary to remember that there is a lower, an average and a higher teaching of the Quran. The higher teaching abounds in so much light of knowledge, brightness of truth, true beauty, and virtue, that the lower or average ability cannot possibly reach it. Only the possessors of the purest nature, whose entirely luminous disposition draws light to itself, attain to these truths.
So, the first stage of sidq (truthfulness) that they attain is aversion for worldly affairs and an instinctive dislike of what is vain. After this condition is firmly established, the second stage of sidq is reached which can be called zeal, enthusiasm and turning towards God. And after this state is thoroughly established, a third stage of sidq is attained which can be called the greatest transformation, an entire cutting off, personal love, and the rank of total self-effacement in Allah.
This having been deeply-rooted, the spirit of truth penetrates the human being, and all pure truths and matters of knowledge of a high order are revealed to him. There rises up in his heart, and pours forth from his lips, the most profound and deep knowledge of the Quran and points of the shariah [Islamic Law]. And such secrets and subtleties of the religion are disclosed to him as are inaccessible to the intellects of the followers of customary and conventional knowledge. This is because he is inspired by God, and the Holy Spirit speaks within him. All inclinations to falsehood are cut out from within him because he learns from the spirit, speaks according to it, and by the spirit does he influence others.
In this state he is called siddiq (lit. truthful) because the darkness of falsehood entirely leaves him, and is substituted by purity and the light of truth. The manifestation through him, at this stage, of truths and matters of knowledge of a high order is a sign of him. Having been fermented by the light of truth, his holy teaching astonishes the world. People are wonder-struck by his pious knowledge which stems from his self-effacement in Allah and knowledge of the truth. This quality is called the quality of siddiqiyya (lit. truthfulness).
It should be remembered that siddiq is one who both has a complete knowledge of the Divine truths and acts on them perfectly instinctively. For instance, he knows the true significance of matters such as Divine unity, obedience to God, love of God, the obtaining of complete riddance from worshipping others than God; the real meaning of devotion to God, sincerity, repentance; and the essence of moral virtues such as patience, trust in God, resignation to Him, effacement in Him, truthfulness, fidelity, forgiveness, modesty, honesty, trustworthiness, etc. And apart from having this knowledge, he is well-established on all these virtues.
Third Quality — Being a Witness of Faith:
The third excellence granted to the great saints is the rank of shahadah. By this rank is meant that station where, by the strength of his faith, man acquires such a belief in God and in the Day of Judgment that it is as if he sees God with his own eyes. Then, with the blessing of this conviction, the effort and exertion of doing righteous deeds melts away, every Divinely-ordained fate appears sweet as honey to his heart, and each trial is seen by him as a reward.
Hence shahid is one who, by the strength of his faith, beholds God, and enjoys like sweet honey the bitter fate ordained by Him. This is why he is called shahid. This rank is a sign of the perfect believer.
Fourth Quality — Righteousness:
There is also a fourth rank which is attained fully and completely by the perfect saints and the purified ones: the rank of salihin (lit. the righteous). A person is called salih when he becomes inwardly cleared and purified of all wickedness, and with the removal of all this putrid and filthy matter, the ecstasy of Divine worship and contemplation reaches the highest degree. For, just as the taste of the tongue is spoilt by physical illness, so is the sense of spiritual flavour vitiated by spiritual ailments; and a person thus afflicted feels no pleasure in Divine worship and contemplation, nor does he have any enthusiasm, zeal or urge for it. On the other hand, the perfect man is not only cleansed of all evil matter but this quality develops so much within him as to appear as a sign and miracle.
These are, in short, the four grades, to try to attain to which is the duty of every believer. The person who entirely lacks these, lacks faith. This is why in the Sura Fatihah (opening chapter of the Holy Quran) the Glorious God has ordained for the Muslims this very prayer that they implore Him for all these virtues. This prayer is:
اِہۡدِ نَا الصِّرَاطَ الۡمُسۡتَقِیۡمَ ۙ﴿۵﴾ صِرَاطَ الَّذِیۡنَ اَنۡعَمۡتَ عَلَیۡہِمۡ ۙ۬
“Guide us on the right path, the path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed favours”.
This verse has been explained elsewhere in the Holy Quran [4:69] where it is made clear that by those upon whom God has bestowed favours are meant the prophets, the siddiq, the shahid, and the salih. The perfect man has all of these four qualities combined in him.
(Tiryaq al-Qulub, pp. 246–250)
Elsewhere Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad writes:
“The Holy Quran in the Sura Fatihah gives us the hope of becoming the likes of prophets. God exhorts us to pray to Him five times a day and beseech Him as follows: ‘Guide us on the right path, the path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed favours’, meaning O God, grant us the guidance so that we may become the like of Adam, the like of Seth, the like of Noah, the like of Abraham, the like of Moses, the like of Jesus, and the like of the Holy Prophet Muhammad and Ahmad” (Izala Auham, p. 257).
It is the like of a prophet, and not a prophet, that a Muslim is instructed to pray to become in the Sura Fatihah. The Qadiani assertion that a Muslim is taught here to pray to become a prophet is entirely baseless.