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Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad

Did not claim to be a prophet

On the views of the classical great scholars of Islam about prophethood and revelation
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Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad on the views of the classical great scholars of Islam about prophethood and revelation

No prophet can come but revelation to saints in Islam continues

It is claimed in Qadiani literature that the great classical scholars in Islamic history expressed the view in their writings that prophets will continue to come after the Holy Prophet Muhammad (may peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him), and that his being the Khatam-un-nabiyyin does not prevent the coming of a prophet after him.

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad knew of the writings of these great figures. So the question is, Did he also conclude from their writings that Islam teaches the coming of prophets after the Holy Prophet Muhamamd? We quote below some of his statements that refer to the beliefs of these great Ulama and his acceptance of their beliefs. (The underlining within his statements is done by us.)

1. When denying the allegation that he claimed to be a prophet, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad announced that he accepted the belief of the Ahl-i Sunna wal-Jama‘at, the generality of the Muslims and their Ulama, that no prophet could come after the Holy Prophet Muhammad:

In accordance with the belief of the Ahl-i Sunna wal-Jama‘at, I accept all those matters that are proved from the Quran and Hadith, and after our leader and master Hazrat Muhammad, may peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him, the Khatm-ul-mursalín, I consider anyone who claims prophethood and messengership to be a liar and kafir.”
Majmu‘a Ishtiharat, 1986 edition, v. 1, p. 230-231.

“Other allegations made against me are that … I make a claim to prophethood and deny the finality of prophethood. All these allegations are entirely untrue and false. In all these matters my belief is the same as that of the other Ahl-i Sunna wal-Jama‘at … Now I make a clear and plain affirmation of the following matters before Muslims in this house of God: I believe in the finality of prophethood of the Khatam-ul-anbiya, may peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him, and I consider the person who denies the finality of prophethood as being without faith and outside the pale of Islam.”
Majmu‘a Ishtiharat, 1986 edition, v. 1, p. 255.

“By way of a fabrication, they slander me by saying that I have made a claim to prophethood. … But it should be remembered that all this is a fabrication. Our belief is that our leader and master Hazrat Muhammad, may peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him, is the Khatam-ul-anbiya, and we believe in angels, miracles and all the beliefs of the Ahl-i Sunna.”
Kitab-ul-Bariyya, p. 182, footnote; in Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 13, p. 215–216.

2. Discussing the Hadith reports which say that no prophet can come after the Holy Prophet Muhammad, he wrote that no one in Islamic history had doubted these reports:

“The Holy Prophet had repeatedly said that no prophet would come after him, and the hadith ‘There is no prophet after me’ was so well-known that no one had any doubt about its authenticity.”
Kitab-ul-Bariyya, p. 184, footnote; in Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 13, pp. 217.

3. When his Muslim critics objected that he could not be the ‘like’ of a prophet because he was not himself a prophet, he gave the following reply referring to the belief of the entire Muslim Umma:

“Objection: Only a prophet can be the like of a prophet.

Answer: The entire Umma is agreed that a non-prophet substitutes for a prophet as a burooz. This is the meaning of the hadith report: ‘The ulama of my Umma are like the Israelite prophets’. Look, the Holy Prophet has declared the ulama to be like prophets. … God sent prophets into the world so that He can raise their likes in the world … this is accepted by all.”
Ayyam-us-Sulh, p. 163-164; in Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 14, p. 411–412.

He states here that all the Muslim Umma, referring of course to the universally-accepted beliefs of the great scholars of Islam throughout history, is agreed that it is a non-prophet who becomes the like of a prophet. In the same book he also writes:

“It is established from authentic Hadith that a muhaddas too, like prophets and messengers, is included among those sent by God. … Another hadith report says: ‘The ulama of my Umma are like the Israelite prophets’. The Sufis through their visions have confirmed this hadith from the Holy Prophet. It should also be remembered that in Sahih Muslim the Promised Messiah is referred to by the word nabi, that is, in a metaphorical and figurative way.”
Ayyam-us-Sulh, p. 75; in Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 14, p. 309.

The spiritual writers of Islam, he says, have confirmed the authenticity of this hadith, according to which the likes of the prophets arise among the Muslims, and the Promised Messiah too has come in fulfilment of the same hadith and the word nabi applies to him in the metaphorical manner in which it applies to one who is a muhaddas.

Again, referring to this hadith he comments as follows on the writings of some classical spiritual scholars of Islam:

“Of all the leaders of Sufi-ism that there have been till the present day, not even one has disagreed with the point that in this religion the path to become the likes of prophets is open, as the Holy Prophet Muhammad has given the glad tidings for spiritual and godly learned persons that: ‘The ulama of my Umma are like the Israelite prophets’. The words of Abu Yazid Bustami given below, which are recorded in Tazkirat-ul-Auliya by Farid-ud-Din Attar, and are also found in other reliable works, are on this basis, as he says: ‘I am Adam, I am Seth, I am Noah, I am Abraham, I am Moses, I am Jesus, I am Muhammad, peace be upon him and upon all these brothers of his.’ ... Similarly, Sayyid Abdul Qadir Jilani, in his book Futuh-ul-Ghaib, refers to this point, i.e. that man, by leaving his ego and annihilating himself in God, becomes the like, rather the very form, of the prophets.”
Izala Auham; in Ruhani Khaza’in, v. 3, p. 230-231.

4. He wrote that when the great spiritual figures of Islamic history refer to prophethood after the Holy Prophet Muhammad what is meant is the continuance of revelation to saints in Islam, who can be metaphorically called prophet because of their receiving revelation from Allah:

“Sometimes the revelation from God contains such words about some of His saints in a metaphorical and figurative sense; they are not meant by way of reality. This is the whole controversy which the foolish, prejudiced people have dragged in a different direction. The name ‘prophet of God’ for the Promised Messiah, which is to be found in Sahih Muslim etc. from the blessed tongue of the Holy Prophet, is meant in the same metaphorical sense as that in which it occurs in Sufi literature as an accepted and common term for the recipient of Divine communication. Otherwise, how can there be a prophet after the Khatam-ul-anbiya?
Anjam Atham, footnote, pages 27–28; in Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 11, p. 28.

Thus nubuwwat was an “accepted and common term”, used metaphorically in Sufi literature, for the phenomenon of revelation to saints in Islam. It did not indicate that there could be a prophet after the Khatam-ul-anbiya.

5. The great spiritual figures of Islamic history wrote about the continuance of revelation to saints, not about the continuance of the coming of prophets, as he states:

“With our Holy Prophet, Allah brought prophets to an end. … There is no prophet after our Holy Prophet …

You know that the books of this nation are full of mention of the communication of Allah with His saints. … Have you not read in the book Futuh-ul-Ghaib by Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani how he mentions the truth about revelation and says that Allah speaks to His saints in beautiful and eloquent talk, disclosing to them secrets and informing them of news, bestowing upon them the knowledge of the prophets, the light of the prophets, the insight of the prophets and the miracles of the prophets. But this is by way of inheritance, and not in the original sense. …

It is clear from his writing that just as revelation descends upon prophets so does it descend upon saints …

The Mujaddid and the Imam Shaikh Ahmad of Sirhind in a letter to a disciple Muhammad Siddiq, giving him some exhortations, says: ‘Know that the word of God with a mortal is sometimes from very close quarters, and this is with prophets. Sometimes it is the same with the perfect ones among their followers, and when it comes abundantly to one of them he is called a muhaddas.’ ”
Tuhfa Baghdad; in Ruhani Khazai’n, v. 7, pages: 9, 16, 27-28 footnote.

Contexts in which the scholars wrote

The scholars, whom the Qadianis quote, expressed the quoted views generally in two contexts.

1. In the context of discussing the continuation of revelation and attributes of prophethood among auliya of the Muslims after the Holy Prophet Muhammad. If they mention some type of ‘prophethood’ as continuing, that is just their term for certain prophetic qualities that Muslims can possess such as receiving revelation. For example, the famous Mujaddid Alif Sani (d. 1624) wrote about Hazrat Abu Bakr and Hazrat Umar:

“These two men, on account of their eminence and greatness, are counted among the prophets and have their qualities.”
Maktubat, Daftar I, part iv, letter no. 251, p. 64.

So if someone refers to ‘prophethood’ among Muslims as continuing, in the sense in which Hazrat Abu Bakr and Hazrat Umar can be counted among prophets, they are not talking about real prophethood but sainthood since no Muslim considers Hazrat Abu Bakr and Hazrat Umar as real prophets. In the words of Hazrat Mizra Ghulam Ahmad already quoted above, such a term:

“… is meant in the same metaphorical sense as that in which it occurs in Sufi literature as an accepted and common term for the recipient of Divine communication. Otherwise, how can there be a prophet after the Khatam-ul-anbiya?

2. In the context of their misunderstanding that Jesus will return to this world. Under this misconception, they tried to explain how a prophet could still come after the Holy Prophet. To allow for this, they wrote that a prophet of some kind could still come. But Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad rejected this, calling it a contradiction. About such views he wrote:

“… on the one hand they declared the Holy Prophet Muhammad as the Khatam-ul-anbiya while on the other they also maintained the belief that after the Holy Prophet a prophet is yet to come, i.e. Jesus, who is a prophet.”
Kitab-ul-Bariyya; in Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 13, p. 207.

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad resolved this contradiction by saying that:

“God by naming the Holy Prophet Muhammad as Khatam-un-nabiyyin in the Holy Quran, and the Holy Prophet himself by saying ‘There is no prophet after me’ in Hadith, had settled the matter that no prophet can come after the Holy Prophet, in terms of the real meaning of prophethood.”
Kitab-ul-Bariyya; in Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 13, p. 218.

and therefore:

“… the real intent of the Holy Prophet Muhammad was that the Mujaddid, from among the mujaddids of this Umma, who would have to come to the aid of Islam to defend it against the Christian onslaughts, shall have the name ‘Messiah’.”
Kitab-ul-Bariyya; in Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 13, p. 216.

 
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