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Closing summary by T. Ijaz, 20 March 2004
The Muslim Ummah, Lahoris included, are in a grips of a severe inferiority complex. We are the best of peoples yet Lahoris and orthodox Muslims say the greatest spiritual station open to an ummati is closed shut. While the Ummah of Moses had prophets the Ummah of Muhammad has produced only saleh, siddiq, and shaheeds, which comprise the saintly people. Nothing can be so derogatory to us. Our saints are greater if not equal to many of the Israelite prophets, and prophets of other ummahs. The Promised Messiah himself said thousands in the Ummah attained rank of prophethood, just that the name nabi was not openly given, for reasons already mentioned in previous posts. When it is said Muhammad was like Moses, or saints in the ummah were like the prophets of Israel, we claim the similarity is in the sense of our superiority, since Muhammad was the greater than Moses.
When the Prophet Muhammad addressed Messiah of the future as Nabi, when the Promised Messiah was called nabi hundreds of times, performed miracles and signs which in his words a thousand prophets combined could not exceed, insisted nabi is the appropriate term for him, and appointed by Allah as a Warner making it incumbent for all to accept him, one wonders how anyone can make a conclusion he is not a nabi! In the words of the Promised Messiah I have asked, why do you get annoyed at the term nabi? He told us quite clearly that his claim as a prophet, a non-law bearing one, is like the claim of the non-law bearing prophets of the Israelites, who followed the Law of Moses.
In his older writings, he took ‘nabi’ to mean a partial type in application to him, since he believed a real nabi brings a law, or can modify a law, or is not a follower of a previous prophet. A change in his own understanding of his nabuwwat subsequently occurred, through Divine revelation. That is why Lahoris cannot produce a single quotation in Ek Ghalti ka Izala and all books afterward, saying he is only a partial nabi or that saints have replaced nabis now in the system of religion. Not that there is not enough material for them. About a third of his written pages are after 1901.
He compared his gradual realization of nabuwwat status to the gradual realization of his messiahship in Haqiqatul Wahyi (HW). Both realizations drew upon him through ‘down pouring of revelation” over years. It was on the point of prophethood, when he realized even an ummati can attain nabuwwat, that he proclaimed his spiritual superiority over Jesus. Accordingly that is why he wrote: “when I have proved…the Messiah to come is I, and whosoever holds that the first Messiah was better and superior, he should, on the basis of Hadith and Quran prove the Messiah to come is nothing at all, being neither a nabi nor an arbitor, the first being everything there was need for him to be” (HW p 155).
The Promised Messiah was asked why there was a contradiction in his writings on his status with respect to Jesus, saying he is superior (quoting from Review of Religions 1902) whereas elsewhere claiming inferiority since Jesus was a prophet (TQ 1899). He replied (HW page 148), “how has this contradiction crept in…this contradiction is of the same kind…as I wrote at one time Messiah will descend from heaven…later I put forth that I myself am the Messiah…In the beginning I believed I had no comparison with Jesus; he was a prophet”. When God poured down the revelation like rain, he could not continue the belief of the superiority of Jesus. He said he was given the title nabi – “ummati from one angle and nabi from another”. The fact he specifically pointed out the term “ummati and nabi” shows there was an amendment in his concept of whether an ummati can be an actual nabi. In Zameema Barahini Ahmadiyya, he expressed his joy of this compound name, ummati-nabi and said a member of this ummah can be a prophet, “even though he is an ummati (halan kai wo ummati hai)”. This shows he was a real prophet, not mere wali, since it makes no sense to say, “even an ummati can be a wali”, especially when he said at a previous time a follower of a prophet is a wali (Sat Bachan). It is no surprise that in the very next major book after Ek Ghalti ka Izala, Kishti Nuh, he again proclaimed himself categorically greater than Jesus.
Despite what the Promised Messiah taught, Lahoris believe in the incorrect concepts relating to prophethood. Answering a question on how he, the Promised Messiah, can be a nabi in the ummah, he set out definitions of prophethood (nabi kai haqiqi mano) and said for a nabi to bring a book of law is not essential (shariat ka lana uskay layee zarroori naiyee). Hence he is clearly speaking of actual appointed prophethood as the status of the Promised Messiah. Some prophets bring Law, others don’t. Prophets do not have to bring forth a formal kitab. Law bearing is merely an extra feature of some prophets, based on the needs of the time determined by Allah.
He made this clear in his book Ek Ghalti ka Izala. As already mentioned, the opening couple of paragraphs in this book are powerful proof that Lahoris are in error. An Ahmadi responded to an opponent mocking him that he had pledged allegiance to a prophet – obviously implying a real, actual prophet. To get over this objection by saying he was not an actual prophet was the wrong answer! The Promised Messiah had started explaining to his followers some time before Ek Ghalti ka Izala the true nature of his claim. In this book, the Promised Messiah went on to explain that though he is muhuddus, the term muhuddus does not do full justice to his spiritual status. He denied nabuwwat only in the sense of law-bearing nabuwwat, he wrote.
As every nabi is also a saint or muhuddus he has often used both these words together for himself; the latter term does not negate the status of nabi. Of course, not every saint is necessarily a nabi. This is why in Ek Ghalti ka Izala and onwards, he insisted the term nabi be used for him, though ummati, and made a statement to this effect again only a couple of days before his death, published in a newspaper. He denied law-bearing nabuwwat only.
Note that the term Mahdi (lit. rightfully guided so they can guide others) does not negate prophethood. The root of the term is used for prophets in the Quran (21:73). Also, readers should understand that for Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to call himself mujaddid does not negate the spiritual station of nabi. The Islamic term can be used for a prophet. The Promised Messiah himself called the Prophet Muhammad Mujaddid – i –Azam (Lecture Sialkot).
Lahoris interpret zill in a most derogatory manner. They fail to realize all spiritual attainments, according to the Promised Messiah, are by way of zill. Thus to take their interpretation, all saints in the ummah, all muhuddusses, have a spiritual rank that is not real, God forbid! If you reject nabi as a real spiritual station, you reject the stations of saleh, siddiq, and shaheed. I have shown Muhammad Ali believed at one time an ummati could rise to the spiritual status of nabi on basis of the Quranic verse 4:69.
The objection that an appointed one of Allah fully understands his claim from the outset is proven wrong from the quotes I presented. Under the mistaken impression he only resembled the Messiah, he established a Jamaat. Only later through persistent Divine revelation for a period of twelve years, he finally realized he was indeed the Messiah and Imam Mahdi, so eagerly awaited by Muslims. He was a prophet with the same status from the day he made the initial claim around 1891 to the day of his death. Nabuwwat was always the content of his claim. His self-understanding of the term changed, though he was of the same status all along when he wrote all his books, looking back.
The words ‘not prophet in reality’ present no difficulty to the Qadiani thesis. Similar expressions can be found in the writings of the Promised Messiah. For example he wrote the only real Mahdi the world has ever seen is Prophet Muhammad, yet Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and other prophets were also Mahdis. In relation to the prophet Muhammad, they were not real, but certainly real on their own.
As with the question of nabuwwat, the Ahmad prophecy is another topic where there was another flip-flop on Maulvi Muhammad Ali’s part. I have shown that Maulvi Muhammad Ali at one time firmly believed Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was that very Ahmad prophesied about by Hazrat Isa. The Promised Messiah also applied the prophecy to himself, his name being Ahmad, given to him by Allah. He told his followers to see his name written in the Quran. It is remarkable that in Muhammad Ali’s English commentary under the said verse there is not the faintest hint the prophecy has anything to do with Second Advent of the Messiah! Yet in the immediate subsequent verses, the theme is about the eventual triumph of Islam in the latter days according to Muhammad Ali, at the hands of the Messiah. Of course, the name of that Imam is Ahmad (Ijaz ul Masih).
Mirza Mahmud Ahmad has been consistent on the other hand. In his very first book after becoming Khalifa, Qaul i Faisal, he considered it a dual prophecy. In Anwar i Khilafat, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad does state Muhammad can be said to have fulfilled the prophecy of Paraclete, for Ahmad is an attributive name for Prophet Muhammad. The Promised Messiah fulfilled it in the direct sense. The Promised Messiah, named Ahmad could not have fulfilled the prophecy, if the Prophet Muhammad did not have the attributive name Ahmad. Everything applies to the Prophet Muhammad in the first instance, since the Promised Messiah’s appearance is only the re-appearance of Muhammad in the latter days as buruz.
Lahoris take refuge in a statement of Mirza Mahmud Ahmad that having a different view on this does not make one any less an Ahmadi – true, but the only point I was making was the change in Muhammad Ali’s position – his effort to dissociate the Quranic word rasul from the Promised Messiah.
Now let us look at the questions posed to Maulvi Nurrudin sahib in 1907:
-Have those who do not believe in the Promised Messiah the same status as that of those who do not believe in the Holy Prophet?
-How should the hadith: ‘no prophet after me’ interpreted?
-If a prophet can arise in Islam why were Abu Bakr and others not prophets?
First, the very nature of the questions show Ahmadis held Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to be an actual prophet. The responses of Maulvi Nurrudin, who Lahoris take as a rightful successor of the Promised Messiah, are completely contrary to Lahori positions.
If Lahori theology is correct this should have been his answer to question 1:
“We do not believe the Promised Messiah was an actual prophet, so there is no comparison with respect the status of the people who do not believe in the Promised Messiah vs. those who do not believe in Prophet Muhammad. The Promised Messiah was only a reformer, a saintly man while Muhammad was a Prophet of Allah”, to whom pledge of allegiance was obligatory”.
If Lahori theology is correct this should have been his answer to question 2:
“This Hadith means no prophet can arise after the Prophet Muhammad, since he has brought the final law. If you read what the Promised Messiah wrote in 1899, a prophet is necessarily a law-bearer or independent prophet. While the Promised Messiah has been called ‘nabi’, that is a Sufi metaphorical term for a very righteous person. It should not be taken literally. A follower of a prophet is called wali or muhuddus. In fact, we have instructions from the Promised Messiah to replace the word ‘prophet’ with ‘muhuddus’”.
If Lahori theology is correct this should have been his answer to question 3:
“Our sincere belief is no prophets can now appear. Both Abu Bakr and Mirza Ghulam Ahmad are prophets, which is another name for muhuddus. Partial prophethood is also prophethood. If you read books of the Promised Messiah, saints and other holy personages have replaced the coming of real prophets. God forbid, another real prophet can arise, for that will be against khatam al anbiyya, which has the primary meaning of khatim, i.e., last prophet”.
Allow me to go into further detail on my interpretation of the words of Maulvi Nurrudin in regard to question one. He was a holy personage, the most learned man after the Promised Messiah. His statements should not be interpreted in a way that is against common sense and Islamic principles.
To the first question he says the answer is no. The disbelievers of the Promised Messiah do not have the same status as disbelievers in Prophet Muhammad, though they are both prophets of Allah. The verse he quotes from the Quran states Messengers vary in degrees of exaltation (2:253). Maulvi Nurrudin’s words that follow are better translated as “when there is not equality of status between the Messengers…” (Jub rusul mai musawat naee rai…), so there is no contradiction and confusion in his words.
As the Messiah of Muhammad is more exalted than the Messiah of Moses, Allah’s displeasure that is incurred is greater for the Muslim who disbelieves in the Messiah than it was for the Jews when they rejected their Messiah. A point to consider is Muslims are held to a higher standard, for they have been given the best spiritual tools for receptivity to the truth, by following the example of the Prophet Muhammad.
Maulvi Nurrudin made it clear that though prophets differ in status, we should make no distinction between them, whether they are the more exalted law bearing prophets or non-law bearing. Belief in all the messengers of Allah is essential. He did not particularly like the line of questioning which kufr is worse, since disbelief is disbelief.
This is the reason why the Promised Messiah has used the word kafir for those who disbelieve in him, after 1901. The people who call him kafir become kafir themselves on the basis of Hadith, but those that do not accept him are also kafir. To the Promised Messiah, they are in the same category (HW page 163).
Kufr is of two kinds. One type is outright rejection of Prophet Muhammad. This makes one a kafir in the sense of truly non-Muslim. Denial of the second kind is rejection of the ummati nabi. Since his nabuwwat is indirect, his kufr is also indirect. The Muslim denying the Promised Messiah remain legal, formal Muslims, though he is a kafir within the four walls of Islam. The Muslims taken as a whole who have not accepted the Promised Messiah are in spirit outside the fold of the true Islam.
The expression non-Ahmadis are non-Muslims thus only means they are not true Muslims in spirit. The Promised Messiah has himself used the expression, telling the questioner on the same page quoted above in HW, page 163 that anyone who gets his message and does not accept him, is no longer a Muslim.
As always, if any reader has questions they are free to contact me email@example.com
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