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Ten misrepresented quotes clarified (including seeing himself as ‘God’ in vision)
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Ten misrepresented quotes clarified

by Dr. Zahid Aziz

A friend has forwarded to me a number of brief snippets from books of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad which had been posted by a critic of our Movement on an Internet discussion forum to allege that Hazrat Mirza has expressed objectionable and un-Islamic views. It is quite evident that the objector has not himself (or herself) come across these extracts while actually reading the original books, but is merely repeating these from some anti-Ahmadiyya source, and most probably his source is similarly reproducing them from another source, and so on. But at the beginning of this chain of sources there must be someone who extracted them from the original books and willfully misrepresented them by quoting them out of context. I deal with each quote below.

1. Jesus lacking certain powers

The first quote is presented as follows:

“And just as thousands of worms are born automatically in the rainy season, and Hazrat Adam (as) was also born without mother and father, this birth of Hazrat Isa does not prove his greatness. Rather birth without having a father is an argument on deprivation of certain powers.” (Chashma Masihi; Ruhani Khaza’in, v. 20, p. 356)

It is not clear exactly what is objectionable about this statement. One can only assume that as the anti-Ahmadiyya Muslims believe Jesus to be alive in heaven without eating, drinking or aging for 2000 years, they object to the statement that Jesus as a human mortal could have lacked some physical powers. They tell a baseless story about our Holy Prophet Muhammad that, as a mortal human being, he fell under a magic spell cast upon him by an opponent of Islam but they cannot tolerate any statement that places Jesus in the category of human mortals.

To explain this quotation, which occurs in the short book Chashma Masihi, it is necessary to understand why Hazrat Mirza wrote this book. A Muslim wrote a letter to Hazrat Mirza saying that he had read an anti-Islamic book Yanabiul Islam by a Christian priest and it had made him start to doubt the truth of Islam. So Hazrat Mirza, in reply, published Chashma Masihi in which he exposes the hollowness of the arguments of the Christian book and advises the worried Muslim that he need not be influenced by the Christian criticism of Islam. It may be noted that Yanabiul Islam was written in Persian by a Christian missionary in Iran, the Rev. St. Clair-Tisdall, and was translated into English by Sir William Muir, a well-known hostile critic of Islam, under the title The Sources of Islam. Muir recommended that this book should also be translated into Urdu and Arabic and made accessible to Muslims everywhere. According to Muir this book proves “with marvellous power and erudition” that much of the Quran “can be traced to human Sources existing daily around the Prophet”, and thereby “Islam falls to the ground”. He also adds:

“Hitherto much labour has been spent in showing the falsity and errors of Islam, as has been ably done by Pfander and others. It has remained for our author … to prove its sources to be of purely human origin; and that in so masterly and effective a way that it seems impossible for good Moslems to resist the conclusion drawn. And for all this the thanks of the Christian world are eminently due to the Rev. W. St. Clair-Tisdall.” (Preface; bolding is ours)

This background shows what kind of anti-Islamic book Hazrat Mirza was refuting, which had even made Muslims start doubting the truth of Islam. How low have the present-day anti-Ahmadiyya propagandists stooped, that they ignore and suppress the fact that he was defending Islam against such hostile criticism, and pick out a line from his book to attack the very man who is fighting for the cause of Islam! Even supposing that his quoted statement were objectionable, shouldn’t they at least acknowledge that he wrote the book to defend Islam against the vile allegation that the Holy Prophet Muhammad picked up knowledge from human sources around him and falsely claimed it to be revelation?

If we examine the context in which Hazrat Mirza wrote the above statement about Jesus, we find he was answering the charge that in the Quran Mary is mistakenly called the sister of Aaron and this human error proves that the Quran is of the Holy Prophet’s own making. Within his reply he adds that these objectors “do not look at their own house and see how the Gospels are the target of so many objections”, and then mentions examples of objections to the Gospel account of the marriage of Mary with Joseph. Now he is putting forward these objections as not necessarily his own beliefs but as objections that an objector could justifiably raise, which the Christian missionaries must answer. On the next page, again answering the charge that the Holy Prophet copied material from earlier scriptures, he writes:

“If these objections can be raised against the Holy Prophet Muhammad, even more objections can be raised against Jesus who learnt the Torah, lesson by lesson, from an Israelite scholar and had studied all the books of the Jews, and whose Gospel is so full of material from the (Jewish) Bible and Talmud that we only believe in it because of the command of the Holy Quran.”

It is clear he is saying that an objector could raise similar objections against Jesus that the Christians are raising against the Holy Prophet. Therefore his statement, “Rather birth without having a father is an argument on deprivation of certain powers”, may be in the same sense, that it is an objection that a critic may raise which Christians must answer, not that the objection is a part of our beliefs.

2. Being praised by God

The second allegation is as follows:

It will be an unforgiving impudence if someone claims that Allah does Hamd for him. The only man to have claimed Hamd from Allah is none other than Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. (Haqiqat-ul-Wahi; Ruhani Khaza’in, v. 22, p. 81)

The extract referred to is a revelation of Hazrat Mirza which reads: “Allah praises you”. It is not a statement by him. Some of the other quotes put forward by our critic are also revelations of Hazrat Mirza. Therefore we should make clear that his revelations must always be interpreted to conform to the Holy Quran and the principles of Islam, as he himself did. It is entirely wrong to give them meanings that are opposed to the teachings of Islam. He wrote as follows:

“It is the most appropriate and the primary principle that non-Quranic sources must be put to the judgement of the Quran, whether it is a hadith of the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu alaihi wa sallam, the vision of a holy man (wali) or the revelation of a saint (qutb).” (Hamamat-ul-Bushra; Ruhani Khaza’in, v. 7, p. 216)

“I do not verify any revelation of mine until I have put it to the judgement of the Book of God. Know that whatever is contrary to the Quran is false, heresy and ungodly.” (ibid., p. 297)

“The revelation of the true inspired ones cannot go against the Quran. Whatever I have been made to understand (by God) about the teachings of the Quran and whatever has been revealed to me by God, I have accepted it on condition of correctness and authenticity. It has been disclosed to me that it is correct, pure, and in accordance with the Shariah. … If supposing there was something (i.e. some revelation) which was against it (i.e. against the teachings of Islam), we would ourselves throw all of it away like trash.” (A’inah Kamalat Islam; Ruhani Khaza’in, v. 5, p. 21)

“I myself admit that if my claim of being Promised Messiah is against the clear texts of the Quran and Hadith … then even if my claim is supported by thousands of my revelations, and I show not just one but millions of signs in support of it, still all of these are worthless because no affair and no claim and no sign can be accepted if it is opposed to the Quran and authentic Hadith.” (Majmua Ishtiharat, v. 1, p. 242)

Even certain statements in the Quran can be misunderstood if they are not interpreted in conformity with the more fundamental passages (for example, this is how the words of the Quran “whatever ayat We abrogate or cause to be forgotten” in 2:106 are misunderstood as referring to the abrogation of verses contained in the Quran itself).

Therefore the above revelation of Hazrat Mirza cannot be taken to mean that “Allah does Hamd for him” in the manner in which humans are required to praise Allah. According to classical Arabic dictionaries, hamd means to praise, commend, speak well of, or approve of, someone or something. It tells us in the Holy Quran that the Holy Prophet Muhammad will be raised by Allah to the rank of mahmud (maqam-an mahmud-an, 17:79) because of his prayers, and in fact the same can apply to any believer. Mahmud means one for whom hamd is done. Commentaries of the Quran on this verse say that when, at the Day of Judgment, the Holy Prophet is established on the rank of mahmud then all people will praise him and Allah will also praise him. A human being can therefore have hamd or praise done for him. The name of the Holy Prophet, Muhammad, means not just a man for whom hamd is done but a man for whom hamd is done very greatly.

Dictionaries and commentaries of the Quran also tell us that an act similar to hamd is shukr which means to thank, praise and commend someone for some benefit received from them. (For the close relationship between the meaning of hamd and shukr, please see the following webpages for example: )

While the Quran, of course, requires people to thank Allah or do shukr of Allah, it also mentions Allah as shakir or the One who does shukr or the act of thanking (2:158; 4:147). The Quran mentions man as mashkur or one who is thanked for his efforts (17:19; 76:22). When the expression literally meaning that “Allah thanks people” is used, it is taken to mean that He rewards them. There is an expression in Arabic shakarallahu sa‘ya-hu, meaning literally “Allah thanked him for his efforts”, and is understood to mean that Allah rewarded and blessed that person’s efforts. This expression has also been quoted by Hazrat Mirza as occuring in his revelation. Obviously it would be the height of misrepresentation if our opponents translated it literally when it occurs in his revelation and then complained that “Mirza says Allah thanks him”, when it actually bears a different, proverbial meaning.

There is a hadith in Bukhari in which the Holy Prophet related that when a man gave water to a thirsty dog as a good deed “Allah thanked him for that deed and forgave him”. The translation “Allah thanked him” is the one given by Muhsin Khan in his English translation of Bukhari (see Volume 3, Book 43, Number 646 in his translation). The words for it in Arabic are: Shakar-allahu la-hu.

According to the second of the webpages cited above, hamd also carries the meaning of rida or pleasure, so that the one doing the hamd is pleased with the one whom he is praising. According to the Quran, being pleased or rida applies both ways between the righteous people and Allah: “Allah is well pleased with them and they are well pleased with Him” — radiy-allahu ‘an-hum wa radu ‘an-hu (9:100; 58:22). So Allah “praising someone” is equivalent to Allah being well pleased with him.

3. Moon and Sun

The following extract has been presented by our critic:

“You (i.e. MGA) are moon and I (i.e. God) am sun. And you are sun and I am moon. You are my ‘noor’. I have come down for you.“ (Tajilliyat-e-Illahiyah; Ruhani Khaza’in, v. 20, p. 397)

The meaning of this revelation has been explained in the same place by Hazrat Mirza as follows:

“In this revelation the first time God has called me ‘moon’ and Himself as ‘sun’. This means that just as the source of the light of the moon is the sun, in the same way the source of my light is God. The second time God has called Himself as the ‘moon’ and called me as the ‘sun’. This means that He will manifest His glorious light through me. He was hidden. Now He will be manifested through me. The world was not aware of His brightness but now His brightness will spread everywhere in the world through me.”

The first symbolism mentioned here (God as ‘sun’, man as ‘moon’) is indicated in the Quran in the verses: “By the sun and his brightness, and the moon when she borrows light from him” (91:1-2). As to ‘sun’ being the man sent by God, this is indicated when the Quran speaks of the Holy Prophet as: “an inviter to Allah … and as a light-giving sun” (33:46) and says: “A Book We have revealed to you that you may bring forth people from darkness into light” (14:1).

Hazrat Mirza explains the same revelation elsewhere as follows:

“The fact is that as regards those persons who have a connection of personal love with God, He sometimes uses such expressions about them in a metaphorical sense, from which the foolish people want to prove their Divinity. There are more such expressions about me than even about Jesus, as Allah said addressing me: ‘O moon, O sun, you are from Me and I am from you’. Now a person may misconstrue these words in some other direction but the true meaning is that first God made me ‘moon’ because like the moon I came from that Real Sun, and then He became ‘moon’ because the glory of His light was manifested through me and will do so in the future.” (Chashma Masihi; Ruhani Khaza’in, v. 20, p. 375-376)

Foolish are they, he says, who infer a claim to Divinity from such expressions.

4. “My destination and with Me”

A revelation is quoted in which God addresses him as follows: “You are My destination (murad) and you are with Me” (Ruhani Khaza’in, v. 22, p. 82).

The first part is also found in the writings of the highly renowned and popular saint Shaikh Ahmad of Sirhind (d. 1624), who is famed throughout the Indian subcontinent by the name of Mujaddid Alif Sani or mujaddid of the second millenium of Islam and who lived under the reigns of the Moghul emperors Akbar and Jehangir. He wrote:

“I am the disciple (murid) of God and also His intention (murad). My devotion to God is linked directly to Him without any intermediary. My hand is the representative of God’s hand. Glory be to Him! So I am the disciple of the Holy Prophet Muhammad as well as his spiritual brother.” (Maktubat, Daftar III, letter no. 87, p. 209)

So our critics would also have to denounce Mujaddid Alif Sani as a claimant to being God if they wish to condemn Hazrat Mirza in this way. The expression murad of God simply means he has been raised to fulfil the mission of God or what God intends.

As to the words “you are with Me” (anta ma‘y), Allah throughout the Quran tells us that He is with the righteous of one kind or another. For example, “Allah is with (ma‘) the believers” (8:19), Allah is with (ma‘) the patient (2: 153), Allah is surely with (ma‘) the doers of good (29:69), “Allah is with (ma‘) those who keep their duty” (2:194), and Moses said: “surely my Lord is with me (ma‘iya)” (26:62). If Allah is with such righteous persons, then conversely they are with Allah, and Allah can say of such a man: “you are with Me”. It may be objected that the meaning of Allah being with the believers is that He assists and helps them, but to say that someone is with Allah implies that that man is assisting and helping Allah, which Allah does not need from any human being. However, in the Quran Allah commands the Muslims to be His helpers: “O you who believe, be helpers of Allah (ansarullah)” (61: 14). Obviously, the words helpers of Allah mean helpers in His cause. Are these helpers not with Allah?

We may quote here a most famous, often-quoted verse of poetry by Dr Allama Iqbal which, according to recent news, is on display on a mural at the new Lahore airport in Pakistan. It runs:

Khudi ko kar buland itna ke har taqdeer se pehley, Khuda bande se khud poochhe: bata teri raza kya hai?
Elevate yourself so high that God, before issuing every decree of destiny, should ask His servant: Tell me, what would you like?

Would our critic denounce this statement as being totally the opposite of the teaching of Islam that it is God Who decides upon the decrees of destiny as He likes and man’s role is to accept without question whatever is decreed for him by God?

5. Seeing himself as God in vision

Our critic then gives two quotes from Kitab-ul-Bariyya, from which we give the essential part below:

“I saw in one of my visions that I myself am God and believed that I am Him … in this condition I was saying that we want a new system and new heaven and new earth. Thus initially I created heaven and earth … . Then I said that now we will create human from the extract of earth.” (Ruhani Khaza’in, v. 13, p. 103-105)

If the critic had actually read these pages he would have discovered that Hazrat Mirza is publishing these revelations in order to show that such a person does not claim to be God. He is responding to the Christian belief that certain statements of Jesus in the Gospels prove that he was claiming to be God, and in this connection he writes in the above very pages:

“It should also be remembered that these ideas were not contained in the teachings of Jesus, and his teachings did not add anything to the Torah. He had said very plainly that he was a human being. True, just as the chosen ones of God receive titles of honour, nearness and love from the Exalted God, or just as those people themselves while absorbed in Divine love, utter words of love and union [with God], similar was his case. What doubt is there that, whether someone loves a human being or God, when that love reaches perfection, the lover definitely feels that his soul and that of the beloved have become one. At the stage of spiritual annihilation, many a time he sees himself as one with the beloved. As, for example, the Exalted God addressing my humble self in His revelations says: …”

Then after quoting many of his own revelations at length, he draws this conclusion:

“Is it not true that if someone’s Divinity can be inferred from such revelations and statements then from these revelations of mine my Divinity — I seek refuge with God — will be better established than that of Jesus? And more than that of anyone, the Divinity of our leader and master, the Holy Prophet Muhammad can be established. For, his revelation does not only contain the verse “those who swear allegiance to thee do but swear allegiance to Allah”, and not only that the Exalted God has called the Holy Prophet’s hand as God’s own hand, and has declared each of his actions as God’s own action, and by saying “Nor does he speak out of desire, it is naught but revelation that is revealed” He has declared all his words to be God’s own words, but at one place He has called all the people his (the Holy Prophet’s) servants, as He has said: “(O Prophet) say (to people): O my servants”. Hence it is obvious that the Divinity of our Prophet can be established so plainly and clearly from these sacred words that the Divinity of Jesus cannot possibly be established to the same degree from the statements in the Gospels. Let alone this chief of the two worlds, the Holy Prophet, whose status is so great, the Christian clergymen should consider with justice even these revelations of mine, and then be judges themselves and decide whether it is not true that if such statements can establish Divinity then my revelations are a much stronger testimony to my Divinity than those of Jesus are to his Divinity.”

His whole argument is that such revelations do not establish the recipient’s Divinity but rather his spiritual annihilation in his beloved God, and if there is anyone above all whose revelations can prove him to be God then it is the Holy Prophet Muhammad.

Elsewhere he writes the following explanation:

“Once in a vision I saw that I created a new earth and a new heaven and then I said, let us now create man. At this the foolish Maulvis raised a storm that look, he has now claimed to be God, but this vision meant that God would produce such a transformation at my hands that it would be as if the heaven and the earth had become new, and real humans would come into existence.” (Chashma-i Masihi; Ruhani Khaza’in, v. 20, p. 375-376)

In another place where he quotes similar revelations of his, he explains in a footnote:

“It must be remembered that God the Most High is clear of having any sons. No one is His partner and no one is His son. No one has the right to say ‘I am God’ or ‘I am the son of God’. These words here are metaphorical and figurative. In the Holy Quran God has declared the hand of the Holy Prophet Muhammad as His own hand and said: ‘It is the hand of Allah that is above their hands’ (48:10). Similarly, instead of ‘Say, O servants of Allah’, He revealed: ‘Say, O My servants’ (39:10), and also said: ‘Remember Allah as you remember your forefathers’ (2:200). So you must read the word of God with intelligence and caution, and accept these as allegorical matters, and don’t try to determine their exact nature. Leave the actual nature to God and believe that God is clear of taking anyone as son although much is found in his revelation as allegory. Save yourself from following the allegorical matters and being destroyed thereby. Among the revelations about me which are in clear words there is this one which is recorded in Barahin Ahmadiyya: ‘Say, I am a mortal like you. It is revealed to me that your God is only One God, and all good lies in the Quran’.” (Dafi‘ul-Bala; Ruhani Khaza’in, v. 18, p. 227, footnote)

He is referring in all these extracts to the concept of fana fillah which is a recognised doctrine among the great auliya of Islam. This concept is indicated in the Quran, for example in the verse: “(we take) the colour of Allah, and who is better in colour than Allah” (2:138). By taking the colour of Allah a man can reach the stage of being fana fillah. Perhaps our critics would like to answer whether they consider this verse as teaching that Allah is of a particular physical colour, which man can take on from Him as well!

This concept is also referred to in Hadith. For example, one report reads:

“The Messenger of Allah said, Allah says: … My servant keeps on coming closer to Me through performing nawafil (extra good deeds besides what is obligatory) till I love him. When I love a man, I am the Hearing with which he hears, I am the Sight with which he sees, I am the Hands with which he holds, and I am the Feet with which he walks.” (Sahih Bukhari, 81:38. In Muhsin Khan’s translation this hadith is at Volume 8, Book 76, Number 509).

Here the senses and limbs of a beloved of Allah are said to act as if they were Allah’s own. This report goes on to record that Allah says:

“I do not hesitate to do anything as I hesitate to take the soul of the believer, for he hates death, and I hate to disappoint him.”

Would our critic raise the objection here: How can Allah hesitate to do what He wills, and how can He hate to disappoint a human being?

Allah falling “ill”, needing food and drink

A well-known hadith in the collection of Sahih Muslim runs as follows:

“The Messenger of Allah said that Allah will say on the Day of Judgment: ‘O son of Adam, I was sick and you did not visit to ask after Me.’ He will say: ‘O Lord, how could I ask after You when You are the Lord of the Worlds?’ Allah will say: ‘You do not know that such and such servant of Mine was sick and you did not visit him. If you had gone to see how he was, you would have found Me with Him.’”

The same exchange is then repeated with Allah saying ‘O son of Adam, I asked you for food, but you did not feed Me’, the man asking ‘how could I have fed You when You are the Lord of the Worlds?’, and Allah replying: ‘Do you not know that such and such a servant of Mine asked you for food but you did not feed him’. This is again repeated with Allah saying ‘O son of Adam, I asked you for water, but you did not give Me water to drink’, the man asking ‘how could I give You water to drink when You are the Lord of the Worlds?’, and Allah replying: ‘Such and such a servant of Mine asked you for water but you did not give him water to drink’. (Sahih Muslim, Book: Goodness and good treatment and behaviour, Chapter: Visiting the sick).

Here Allah identifies Himself with the sick and the hungry and the thirsty and says that meeting their needs is like meeting Allah’s needs. Would our critic object here that it is highly offensive to describe Allah as falling ill and needing humans to visit Him in his illness, and as being hungry and thirsty and needing people to give Him food and drink?

6. Abu Lahab

The next allegation is as follows:

“Mirza Ghulam Ahmad says that Abu Lahab means a Maulvi from Delhi.” (Haqiqat-ul-Wahi; Ruhani Khaza’in, v. 22, p. 84)

Here he is commenting on one of his own revelations, “Abu Lahab’s hands will perish and he will perish”, not on the same words as they occur in the Quran, as he writes in a footnote:

“Here by Abu Lahab is meant a Maulvi of Delhi who has now died. This prophecy was made 35 years ago and was published in Barahin Ahmadiyya.

When he originally published his revelations in Barahin Ahmadiyya, some of which were in the words of the Quran, Maulvi Muhammad Husain Batalvi (later an opponent) commented on this in his lengthy review of this book. He wrote:

“By claiming that these verses have been revealed to him, he means that he has been spoken to by God in the same words as were used to address various prophets in the Quran or earlier scriptures. When applied to him, the verses bear a significance different from their original one.”

A Muslim saint in north-west India just prior to Hazrat Mirza’s time, by the name of Maulvi Abdullah Ghaznavi, also had many revelations consisting of passages from the Quran which were published in his biography. When someone raised an objection to this, his son Maulvi Abdul Jabbar Ghaznavi (who was an opponent of Hazrat Mirza) replied:

“If someone receives a Divine revelation (ilham) which is some verse of the Quran addressed particularly to the Holy Prophet Muhammad, the recipient of this revelation would take it as referring to himself, and would interpret it in the light of his own circumstances and draw a lesson from it.” (Asbat al-ilham, pp. 142 – 143)

Thus the revelation to Hazrat Mirza about Abu Lahab refers to his own circumstances. It may be noted that the Abu Lahab (‘father of the flame’) of the Holy Prophet’s time was called by this epithet because of certain attributes of his, and it was not his personal name. This title can also be applied to someone else for similar reasons, as Hazrat Mirza has done to a Maulvi who fanned the flames of takfir against him.

7. Revealed near Qadian

The next allegations states:

“Mirza Ghulam Ahmad reveals that it is near Qadian.” (Haqiqat-ul-Wahi; Ruhani Khaza’in, v. 22, p. 91)

I assume it is being alleged that he is saying that the Quran was revealed near Qadian! The critic’s reference is to the revelation: “Surely We have revealed it near Qadian. With truth We revealed it and with truth it has come. Allah and His Messenger spoke the truth and the will of Allah was fulfilled”. Hazrat Mirza has elsewhere elaborated this revelation as follows:

“It shows that God had indicated my advent in Qadian beforehand as a prophecy in the Divine scriptures.” (Izala Auham; Ruhani Khaza’in, v. 3, p. 139, footnote)

The revealing mentioned here is not the revelation of the Quran but the coming of Hazrat Mirza with his mission of reform.

8. Called by names of prophets

The next quote presented is the following:

“I am Maseeh-e-Zamaan, I am the Kaleem-e-Khuda (i.e. Moses), I am Muhammad, I am Ahmad Mujtaba.” (Tiryaq-ul-Qulub, p. 3; Ruhani Khaza’in, v. 15, p. 134)

Again, this refers to the recognised Islamic concept of fana fir-rasul explained by Muslim spiritual writers from ancient to present times. Hazrat Mirza writes:

“Of all the leaders of Tasawwuf 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 nation are like the Israelite Prophets’. The words of Abu Yazid Bustami given below, which are recorded in Tazkirat al-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 al-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; Ruhani Khaza’in, v. 3, p. 230-231)

Other examples of classical saints, apart from Abu Yazid Bustami and Abdul Qadir Jilani, who called themselves by names of prophets include Abu Bakr Shibli, Jalal-ud-Din Rumi and Muin-ud-Din Chishti. Among modern religious scholars we may give the following examples.

1. Maulana Mahmud-ul-Hasan of Deoband wrote a long poem in eulogy of his two spiritual guides, Maulvi Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (d. 1905) and Maulana Muhammad Qasim Nanotavi (d. 1880), who founded the Deoband school in 1867. In it he says:

“Qasim the good and Rashid Ahmad, both possessors of glory, the two of them were the Messiah of the age and Joseph of Canaan. … I say that the two of them were like Moses and Amran. To be in their company and to serve them was, for the dead hearts, nothing less than (the dead) being commanded by Jesus to ‘Arise’.” (Kuliyat Shaikh al-Hind, pp. 14 – 17)

2. The famous Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi, in his magazine Al-Imdad, published a letter from a disciple explaining a disturbing problem as follows:

“I see in a dream that while reciting the Kalima, ‘La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammad-ur Rasul-ullah’, I am using your name instead of saying Muhammad-ur Rasul-ullah. Thinking that I am wrong, I repeat the Kalima, but despite wishing in my heart to say it correctly, my tongue involuntarily says Ashraf Ali instead of the Holy Prophet’s name. … When I wake up and remember my mistake in the Kalima, … to make amends for the mistake I send blessings upon the Holy Prophet. However, I am still saying: ‘Allahumma salli ala sayyidi-na wa nabiyi-na wa maulana Ashraf Ali’ even though I am awake and not dreaming. But I am helpless, and my tongue is not in my control.”

Maulana Ashraf Ali responded by giving the following explanation of this incident:

“In this incident, it was intended to satisfy you that the one to whom you turn for spiritual guidance (i.e. Ashraf Ali) is a follower of the Holy Prophet’s Sunna.” (Monthly Al-Imdad, issue for the month of Safar, 1336 A.H., circa 1918, p. 35)

3. Allama Dr Sir Muhammad Iqbal writes in a very well-known poetic verse regarding the perfect believer:

“He is Kalim (Moses), he is Masih (Messiah), he is Khalil (Abraham),
He is Muhammad, he is the Book (Quran), he is Gabriel.”

An interpreter of Iqbal, Professor Yusuf Salim Chishti, explains these verses as follows:

“He (the perfect believer) is the heir to the spiritual qualities of Moses, Jesus, Abraham and Muhammad, peace be upon them all. In him is manifested the image of the attributes of the prophets. He is potentially a prophet, but not actually a prophet because prophethood has come to an end.” (Sharh Jawaid Nama, Ishrat Publishing House, Anarkali, Lahore, 1956, pp. 1198 –1199.)

9. Holy Prophet’s place of refuge

The next quotation is presented as follows:

“And God chose such an ignominious place to hide/bury the Holy Prophet that is awfully stinking and dark and cramped and the place of excreta of insects…” (Ruhani Khaza’in, v. 17, p. 205)

There is no text in the original corresponding to “hide/bury”. The “bury” has been added by the critic, or by his source, as a fabrication. The purpose of this deliberate fabrication is to create the false impression that Hazrat Mirza is speaking of the burial place of the Holy Prophet, whereas he is talking about the cave of Thaur in which the Holy Prophet hid with Abu Bakr during his hijra. What he actually writes here is that this statement is the implication of the beliefs of his Muslim opponents. In the above-quoted words he is expressing the result of the beliefs of our opponents, like for example our critic! I translate below the entire footnote in which this extract occurs:

“I have written again and again that this great distinction that is given to Jesus, of going up to heaven alive, staying alive for so long, and then returning, is an insult to our Holy Prophet Muhammad from every aspect and it makes Jesus have such a close connection with God as has no limits. For example, the Holy Prophet Muhammad did not reach even the age of a hundred years but Jesus is alive even after almost two thousand years. And God chose such an ignominious place to hide the Holy Prophet that is awfully stinking and dark and cramped and the place of excreta of insects but He took Jesus to heaven which is the location of paradise and the vicinity of the residence of angels. Now tell us: to whom did God show more love, to whom did He accord more respect, to whom did He grant a place near to Himself, and to whom did He give the distinction of returning back?” (Tuhfa Golarwiya; Ruhani Khaza’in, v.17, p. 205)

The underlined words above are expressed by him as the conclusion of the beliefs of his Muslim opponents and as an insult they are offering to the Holy Prophet Muhammad. It appears that when his opponents were unable to refute his charge that their belief about Jesus constitutes an insult to the Holy Prophet Muhammad, they extracted this statement and quoted it to make the false and fabricated allegation that he was insulting the Holy Prophet in this way, when in fact what he wrote was: O my opponents, you are insulting the Holy Prophet in this way! This is pure, sheer and blatant fraud committed by our critic or by the sources he is relying upon.

The fact that he is referring here to the cave of Thaur during the hijra of the Holy Prophet is clear from his discussion elsewhere of the same point. For example, he wrote in another book about the same Muslim opponents:

“…they consider that the negation of murder, denial of killing on the cross, and the word raf‘ prove only that Jesus, having escaped from the hands of the Jews, went to heaven with his physical body. As if, besides heaven, God the Most High could find no place on earth to conceal him. In order to protect our Holy Prophet Muhammad from the hands of the disbelievers, a terrifying cave full of snakes was enough. But enemies of the Messiah would not have left him anywhere on the earth, whatever plan God the Most High may have devised to save him here, so God having become helpless against the Jews — God forbid — was compelled to choose heaven for him!” (Kitab-ul-Bariyya; Ruhani Khaza’in, v. 13, p. 227, footnote)

It is clear from the description of the cave of Thaur in Hadith that it was indeed a terrifying, deadly place, inside which Hazrat Abu Bakr was bitten by a poisonous snake.

10. Seeing himself as God in vision

The last quotation presented is the following:

“I saw in my dream that I am Allah and I believed no doubt I am the one who created the heaven.” (A’inah Kamalat Islam, p. 564)

This point has been fully dealt with under extract number 5 above in connection with another quotation. It may be added that just two pages after the extract cited above he writes:

“We do not interpret this experience according to the meanings in the books of the believers in wahdat-ul-wujud nor according to the beliefs of the Hulul. On the contrary, this experience is in accordance with the hadith of the Holy Prophet Muhammad contained in Bukhari explaining the rank of nearness to God that is attained by His righteous servants.” (p. 566)

The doctrine of wahdat-ul-wujud is that everything is a part of God and the Hulul believe that God can appear in human form. These are the concepts he is rejecting. The hadith he is referring to has been quoted above under point number 5 (“My servant keeps on coming closer to Me through performing nawafil till I love him. When I love a man, I am the Hearing with which he hears, I am the Sight with which he sees, I am the Hands with which he holds, and I am the Feet with which he walks.”) Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad writes here that his vision is in accordance with this hadith in Bukhari.

Appendix: Concept of God held by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad has written much, and repeatedly, on the Islamic teachings about God and His attributes. In order to refute the false impression our critics are trying to create regarding his beliefs about God, by presenting the above quotes out of context, we reproduce below two examples of what he taught about the Islamic concept of God.

“According to the Holy Quran, Almighty God is one and without any partner in His excellences, and He is eternally free from every defect. In Him are found all the perfect attributes and by Him are displayed all the mighty powers. From Him the whole creation comes into existence and to Him all the affairs return. He is the fountain-source of all blessings and the Judge of retribution. Being remote, He is very near, and being near, He is still far off. He is above all but still it cannot be said that beneath Him there is anything else, and He is the most hidden of all things, but it cannot be said of any thing that it is more manifest than He. He is Himself living and everything has its life from Him. He is His own support and everything finds support from Him. He bears everything and there is nothing that bears Him. Nothing has come into existence independently of Him and nothing can exist without Him. He comprehends all, but the manner in which He does so, cannot be described. He is the light of everything that is in earth and heavens, and every light has shone forth from His hand and is a shadow of His person. He is the Lord of all the worlds and there is no soul which has not been brought forth by Him and has come into existence by itself. Nor is there any faculty of a soul which has not been brought into existence by Him.” (Lecture Lahore; Ruhani Khaza’in, v. 20, p. 152-153)

A little further on, quoting chapter 112 of the Holy Quran, he explains:

“Your God is the God Who is one in His person and in His attributes. No being is like Him eternal and everlasting, nor has any being its attributes like His attributes. As there is nothing that is like Him, so there is nothing whose attributes are like His attributes. For if there is any defect in one of His attributes, all His attributes must be defective, and if one of His attributes can be possessed by anyone else, then all His attributes can be so possessed. Therefore His unity cannot be established unless He is regarded as one and without any partner in His person as well as His attributes. … God is neither a father nor a son, for He stands in need of none, not even of a father or a son. This is the doctrine of Unity taught by the Holy Quran which is necessary for a perfect faith.” (p. 155)

Elsewhere he writes:
“Listen, all those who will listen, what it is that God desires of you? It is just that you become entirely His, and take no one to be a partner with Him, neither in heaven nor on earth. Our God is that God Who is alive even now as He was alive before, Who speaks even now as He spoke before, and Who hears even now as He used to hear before. It is a baseless notion that He hears in this age but does not speak. Nay, He hears and He also speaks. All His attributes are eternal; none has ceased, nor shall any ever cease. He is the One, without any partner, Who has no son nor wife. He is the unique Who has no equal, like Whom there is none having unique attributes. There is no one of equal rank with Him, and no one sharing the same attributes. There is no power which He lacks. He is near despite being far, and He is far despite being near. He can show Himself to persons of spiritual vision as a likeness, but He has neither body nor form. He is above all, but we cannot say that anything else is below Him. He is on the Divine Throne, but we cannot say that He is not on earth. He combines in Himself all the perfect attributes, and displays all that is truly praiseworthy. He is the source of all virtues, the possessor of all the powers, the origin of all grace, the One to Whom all things return, the King of all realms, Who has every perfection and is free from every defect and weakness. Only to Him is due the worship of those on earth and those in heaven. Nothing is impossible for Him; all the souls and their powers, and all the particles of matter and their powers, are but His creation, and nothing can come into existence without Him. He shows Himself by means of His power and might and signs; only through these can we find Him. He is ever manifesting Himself to the righteous, and shows them the wonders of His power. It is from this that He is recognised, and the path approved of by Him is known. He sees, but without eyes; He hears, but without ears; and He speaks, but without a tongue. Likewise, to create something out of nothing is also His work. Just as you see that in a scene in a dream He creates a whole world without any matter, and shows non-existent things to be existent. Thus such are all the wonders of His power. Unwise is the one who denies His power, and blind is the one who is ignorant of His subtle might. He does, and can do, anything except that which is against His dignity or contrary to His promises. He is the only One in His person, in His attributes, in His works, and in His power.” (Al-Wasiyya; Ruhani Khaza’in, v. 20, p. 309-311)