Righteous in Islam Granted Four Distinctions by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian
Abundant Prophecies, Superior Knowledge of Holy Truths, Clearest Perception of God, and Purified Character all serve as Miraculous Signs of Holy Men
By Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian
The Islamic Guardian (UK), 1979 Issue (The FIRST Issue, pp. 3–5)
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, the necessary condition for sainthood (wilayah)is that unseen matters 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 rank of sainthood, He grants him distinction over his contemporaries in all of four things. If such distinction is found in anyone, then it becomes necessary to believe surely 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 excellences granted to them to serve as signs and miracles. In each of these excellences they have a clear distinction over other people. In fact, these accomplishments are as miracles. A person such as this is like the philosophers’ stone, and only he reaches this station who has, since eternity, been chosen to benefit mankind.
The four accomplishments, which are as four signs or miracles, and which distinguish one who is a master of, and pre-eminent among, the walis [saints] are as follows:
1. Abundant, Incomparable Revelation of Matters Unseen:
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 compete with him in these respects, and it should be not only improbable, but impossible, that someone else has a share of these rare talents. That is to say, it should be wholly impossible that someone could parallel or rival him in terms of: secrets of the unseen revealed, acceptance of prayers and prior intimation of the same, and signs of support that appear in heaven and earth. He should, by way of miracle, be granted such spiritual knowledge, luminous visions, and heavenly support, as if it were a gigantic river flowing, and a glorious light which is descending from heaven and spreading on earth; and these things should reach the stage where they are clearly miraculous. This excellence is called the excellence of prophethood.
2. Deep, Superior Knowledge of the Holy Quran and the Shariah:
The second excellence that is necessary as a sign for the leader of the saints is the attainment of the higher understanding and knowledge of the Quran. It is necessary to remember that there is a lower, a moderate, and a higher instruction of the Quran. The higher instruction abounds in so much light of knowledge, brightness of truth, true beauty, and virtue that the lower or moderate ability cannot reach it. Only the possessors of the purest nature, whose totally luminous disposition draws light to itself, attain to these truths.
So, the first stage of sidq (lit. truthfulness) that they attain is aversion for worldly affairs and an instinctive dislike of the trivial. After this condition is firmly established, the second stage of sidq is reached which is characterised by an enthusiastic turning towards God. And after this state is thoroughly established, a third stage of sidq is attained which is typified by a total self-effacement in Allah.
This having been deeply-rooted, the Spirit of Truth penetrates the person, 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 knowledge of the Quran and the Shariah. And such secrets and subtleties of the religion are disclosed to him as are inaccessible to the intellects of the formalists. 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 sadiq (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. This excellence is called the excellence of sadiqiyyah (lit. truthfulness).
It should be remembered that sadiq 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, submission to God, truthfulness, forgiveness, modesty, honesty, trustworthiness, etc. And apart from having this knowledge, he is well-established on all these qualities.
3. Clearest Perception of God:
The third excellence granted to the great saints is the rank of shahadat (lit. testifying to God’s existence). 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 judgement 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.
4. Purified Caracter:
There is also a fourth rank which is fully attained by the perfect saints: 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. Just as the taste of the tongue is spoilt by physical indisposition, so is the sense of spiritual flavour vitiated by spiritual ailments; and a person thus afflicted feels no joy 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 earnest believer. The person who totally lacks these, lacks faith. This is why in Surah Fatihah (chapter one of the Holy Quran) Almighty God has ordained for Muslims the very prayer that they implore Him for all these four 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” [The Holy Quran, 1:1].
The verse here has been explained elsewhere in the Holy Quran (4:69) where it is stated that by those upon whom God has bestowed favours are meant the prophets, the sadiq, the shahid, and the salih. The perfect man has all of these four qualities collected together in him.
(Extract from Tiryaq al-Qulub, pp. 246–250)