The Six Parallel Stages of Physical and Spiritual Perfection in the Light of the Holy Quran

English translation of Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Vol. 5, pp. 32–84

by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian


Later on in the book, Hazrat Mirza recapitulates the six spiritual stages and explains how a believer is led by Allah from one stage to another, that is, when He wishes to save a person from destruction, He brings about a change of circumstances in his life or visits him with a dreadful calamity which jolts him out of his indifference and makes him aware of Allah’s power, glory and majesty. This helps him to give up his lower attachments, for a new love is given at every stage in order to enable him to overpower and discard his ill-directed lower love. His faith is thereby strengthened and he is weaned away from dependence on worldly pleasures and crutches for he is now locked on to a higher spiritual delight.

For example, at the first stage, man loves to live in a state of heedlessness. He is far from Allah and his self is coloured with a kind of kufr (infidelity) which drags him towards hard-heartedness and pride without a semblance of humility, meekness or lowliness. But when Allah gives him a sign of His power and majesty he quickly develops a love for humility and tenderness of heart and experiences very little discomfort in giving up his former love for a care-free existence, just as a suckling baby gives up his mother’s breast once he develops love for another kind of nutrition (although before that it was difficult for him to abstain from it) and afterwards even if the breast is offered to him, he rejects it with disdain.

This progression advances to the fifth stage where human effort reaches its maximum with the believer returning his trusts to Allah in every detail, and fulfilling even his most minor obligations to his fellow human beings.

At the sixth level Allah’s grace takes over: the fire of the believer’s personal love is met with the fire of his Creator’s personal love and every atom of his being is ignited with the fire of the love for Allah and he does good naturally as the Holy Quran says,

فَمَنۡ تَطَوَّعَ خَیۡرًا فَہُوَ خَیۡرٌ لَّہٗ

“… So whoever does good spontaneously it is better for him …” (The Holy Quran, 2:184).

This is also the fulfilment of the verse,

قُلۡ اِنَّ صَلَاتِیۡ وَ نُسُکِیۡ وَ مَحۡیَایَ وَ مَمَاتِیۡ لِلّٰہِ رَبِّ الۡعٰلَمِیۡنَ ﴿۱۶۲﴾ۙ

“Say: My prayer and my sacrifice, my living and my dying are surely for Allah, the Lord of the worlds” (The Holy Quran, 6:162).

At this stage no fear comes over the believer nor does he grieve and he becomes a khalifa (vicegerent) of Allah.

It is our hope and prayer that young people, in particular, become sensitised to the stages they have to traverse and the challenges they have to overcome in their striving for all-round perfection. The young are singled out for they have their entire life in front of them and so time is on their side. We also pray that this booklet may assist them to achieve success in the Islamic way. May Allah bless them every inch of the way and may He guard them with His loving power. May He also shower His choicest blessings on us all, regardless of our respective ages.