Revelation to Muslim Saints
Required to prove that Quran is Word of God
by Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din
The Muslim Thinker, July/August/September 1990 Issue (Issue 4, pp. 20–23)
Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din (d. 1932) was the founder of the Woking Muslim mission in this country [UK], where in his propagation of Islam to the West he had to confront both traditional Christianity and the expanding atheism. He found that in this work his most powerful weapons were those principles of Islam which had been particularly highlighted in this age by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, his mentor and master who had inspired him to become a missionary of the Islamic religion. One such principle is that the righteous among Muslims can attain to a stage where God speaks to them, reassuring them, thus proving that God exists and that He revealed His word to prophets in the past.
We translate below extracts from the book Mujaddid-e-Kamil by the late Khwaja in which he has explained the importance of this teaching. In a discussion with the Bishop of Murphy at Cambridge in 1913, the Khwaja put to him the following challenge, based on a teaching of the Bible itself:
“Studying the Bible has confirmed me on one principle, which I consider to be the best criterion of the truth of any religion. … Besides the great prophets who hold a very high rank, the Bible frequently mentions individuals to whom God used to speak and they received the messages of God as needed. The angels of God guided them from time to time. This is also seen in the life of Jesus, and to a certain extent the same is true of his disciples. However, there is no mention of it in the later history of Christianity. I ask you only this, Are there among you today, persons of this kind who have communication with God, and who receive revelation and solace from God? If there are, the truth of your religion stands proved to me.”
The Bishop was unable to refute this argument, and had to evade the question.
The rest of this article consists of extracts from this book regarding the continuation of revelation among Muslims and the need for it.
My demand to the Bishop was in accordance with the Holy Quran. Believers receiving revelation, or the coming of the angels to them to give them solace, are the distinctive blessings which God Almighty has reserved for the Muslim people. In the five daily prayers, our seeking the “right path” points to the fact that we are praying for this very blessing. We ask to be guided on the right path which was the path of those “on whom Thou bestowed favours [The Holy Quran, 1:6]”. Later the Quran [4:69] gives as examples of such people the prophets, the truthful, the righteous and the faithful (nabi, siddiq, salih, shahid). It is not necessary that every person who reaches the rank of faithful or righteous also receives revelation; it is God Who bestows this favour. Nonetheless, we are required to ask for this favour, and we can obtain it. …
Again, the coming of angels to such people, and answering them, is clear from a plain text of the Quran:
اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ قَالُوۡا رَبُّنَا اللّٰہُ ثُمَّ اسۡتَقَامُوۡا تَتَنَزَّلُ عَلَیۡہِمُ الۡمَلٰٓئِکَۃُ اَلَّا تَخَافُوۡا وَ لَا تَحۡزَنُوۡا وَ اَبۡشِرُوۡا بِالۡجَنَّۃِ الَّتِیۡ کُنۡتُمۡ تُوۡعَدُوۡنَ ﴿۳۰﴾
“Those who say that Allah is our Lord, and are then steadfast upon this declaration, angels descend upon them saying: Fear not, nor grieve, and receive good news of the garden which you are promised.” (The Holy Quran, 41:30)
… This verse gives the glad tidings that angels descend upon those who yearn for God, and steadfastness is the grade of the believer at which angels descend upon him. That rank is very hard to attain.
To sum up, revelation and the descent of angels are proven matters, and some saints among the Muslims attained this blessing. However, this is not revelation of that grandeur which was received by the prophets till the Holy Prophet Muhammad, and by means of which the Divine books were revealed. No angels ever brought a commandment of law to a Muslim recipient of revelation. But it is necessary that the fine and subtle points of the Book of God be disclosed by these means, and it is through revelation that the knowledge of the Quran is made known to the world. …
Modern Age denies Revelation to Prophets:
Till the start of the nineteenth century, followers of all religions believed that their revealed books contained actual words spoken by God. However, with the advancement of science and modem knowledge, together with the absence for centuries of any individual in these religions who received revelation, this belief lost its strength. Science is no adversary of religion; it is rather its servant, and has performed a great service for religion by showing the existence of God in an intellectual sense. But when there is no claimant to revelation, how can this phenomenon be studied? Gradually, it came to be believed that only the general sense of the Divine books had been inspired into the hearts of the holy recipients, or that they could read the Divine intent, and it was these ideas from God which they conveyed to people in their own words. In Islam, the belief that the Quran was revealed in words has existed from the beginning, and it means that every word of the Quran is of Divine origin. But when, on the one hand, there are hardly any recipients of revelation, and on the other, Western thought denied revelation absolutely, there arose a group among the Muslims as well which denied that the words of the Quran were revealed, but considered that the meanings were from God. The leader of this group in the last century was Sir Sayyid [Syed] Ahmad Khan. …
As I have said, we can prove by arguments that the Holy Quran is a book full of wisdom and meets the needs of mankind, being sufficient for every human requirement. We can also show that the Quran is from the Divine source. But to believe that it consists of words actually spoken by God is not possible until it is accepted that God speaks. The trouble is that since the last century the intellectuals have considered it impossible that God can speak to a man. …
To accept that a book is from God, in the form of words, is only possible if a man claims not only that God speaks to him, but also that some of his companions and associates can attain to Divine communication as well. His own prophecies may occasionally not be convincing for some people, but if reliable persons from among his followers testify that they heard hundreds of prophecies from him which came true miraculously, and that they too receive a measure of this blessing, this would prove that revelation is in words.
After the Holy Prophet Muhammad’s time, it was in the thirteenth Islamic century that the existence of revelation was denied. Previously the debate was about which Book should be considered as being from God, and that required giving arguments of a different kind. Today it is denied that any Book could have come from God. … Jews, Christians and Arya Hindus, as I have stated above, do not generally believe today that their books were revealed in the form of words. Among the Muslims too, the intelligentsia hold the same view as Sir Sayyid. If it is a correct belief that the Quran consists of words spoken by God, then the prime duty of the Mujaddid [Reformer] of this century was to lay stress on the existence of Divine revelation. …
We do not need a new Book from God, nor a new prophethood, since the Holy Quran and the example of the Holy Prophet have met our needs fully and perfectly. We only seek to establish the possibility of revelation from God, and sufficient proof of that is mubashshirat (revelation to saints in Islam). The Last of the Prophets promised us that this blessing would continue among his followers. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad laid claim to this. In support of this, on the one hand he repeatedly made prophecies, and on the other, he cited such persons as witnesses who could be accepted as true witnesses in all worldly matters.