From Zahid Aziz, November 30, 2003.
Most of the points made by you hinge upon your assertion that the Promised Messiah Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad changed his claim in 1901 from muhaddas to prophet. A discussion of this issue will therefore clarify all those points, including the statement of Hazrat Maulana Nur-ud-Din and the writings of Maulana Muhammad Ali that we are discussing. You agree that he used the word nabi about himself before 1901 as well, but you assert that in 1901 he changed its usage about himself to mean a real prophet. We say that he always used it about himself in the way he did before 1901, in its linguistic or metaphorical sense, as meaning muhaddas, a non-prophet, and that members of the Ahmadiyya community also used it in the same way.
Did Promised Messiah change his claim from muhaddas to prophet in 1901?
In my last e-mail I have already given you an example of a statement about saints that could not be changed in 1901 or at any other time, but you have not responded to it. Historical facts about previous saints that he mentions cannot change in 1901. His statement in 1898 that “the person of Hazrat Umar was, as it were, the person of the Holy Prophet Muhammad by way of zill” (because he conquered over the Persians and Romans) cannot change in 1901. His statement I earlier quoted about Hazrat Abu Bakr’s glory shining like that of prophets (because he saved Islam from destruction) cannot change in 1901. There are general statements about saints, not just about himself, such as:
“the muhaddas is potentially a prophet, and if the door of prophethood were not closed, he would be actually a prophet ... God speaks to muhaddases just as He speaks to prophets, and He sends muhaddases just as He sends messengers. The muhaddas drinks from the same fountain, from which the prophet drinks. So there is no doubt that he would be a prophet if the door of prophethood had not been closed.” (Hamamat-ul-Bushra; RK, v. 7, p. 301)
These facts cannot change in 1901.
You write: “From 1901 and beyond, he stated he had the rank nabi, whereas before he specifically told his followers to replace the word nabi with muhuddas in his writings.”
The following are some of the reasons which disprove your assertion.
1. In his opening statement in Ayk Ghalati Ka Izala, he wrote:
“Some people in our Movement who are not well-acquainted with my claim and the arguments relating to it — not having had the occasion to study my books carefully, nor having stayed in my company for a sufficient length of time to complete their knowledge — in some instances in response to an objection of the opponents give a reply which is entirely against facts. So, despite being on the side of truth, they have to face embarrassment.”
It is totally senseless for him to blame some of his followers for giving wrong answers if it was he himself who had been mistakenly telling them to deny that he was a prophet! Moreover, it is also absurd for him to tell them that they should have read his previous books carefully.
2. Mirza Mahmud Ahmad first set the date to be October 1902, saying that as Tiryaq-ul-Qulub was published at that date, therefore any writings published before this date do not represent his real claim. If the year 1901 had been known in the Movement as the year of the change, he could not have set the date as October 1902.
3. When Tiryaq-ul-Qulub was published in October 1902, having been largely written in 1899, Hazrat Mirza sahib would certainly have added a note in it, stressing that his claim had changed to prophet in 1901 and that what he had written in this book before 1901 about his status was out of date. Without such a comment by him, this book has to be accepted as valid at the time of publication in October 1902. You have described this book as “pre 1901”. The Qadiani Jama‘at is so desperate to have this book declared as pre-1901 that they have removed the date “28 October 1902” from the original title page of this book in their collection Ruhani Khaza’in.
4. The Qadiani Jama‘at has got into such a tangle over this that in one place they say that the book Tuhfa Golarwiya was written in 1900, but in another place they say that the Promised Messiah affirmed in 1904 that this book correctly describes his status.
5. You have quoted from the question and answer on page 148 of Haqiqat-ul-Wahy, where Hazrat Mirza sahib allegedly answered to the effect: I have changed my claim since writing in Tiryaq-ul-Qulub (in 1899) that I was only partially superior to Jesus, because after this time revelation poured down on me like rain to inform me that I am a prophet. It is quite bizarre that Hazrat Mirza sahib did not mention this change in November 1901 in Ayk Ghalati Ka Izala when it had allegedly just occurred, nor did he mention it in October 1902 in any addendum in Tiryaq-ul-Qulub when publishing this book. He only mentioned the alleged change when someone happened to raise a question, the answer to which he published in May 1907!
The fact is that Hazrat Mirza sahib has answered here the issue behind the question as to whether there was ever a change. You quote him writing: “In the beginning I believed that I had no comparison with Jesus son of Mary”. When was that “beginning”? When he claimed to be Promised Messiah and like of the Messiah in 1891, did he bear no comparison with Jesus? When he wrote in Shahadat-ul-Quran in 1893 that “the mujaddid of this century came in the likeness of Jesus, and was called the Promised Messiah because of intense similarity”, did he bear no comparison with Jesus? In 1898 he challenged Christian clergymen to set up a committee to compare his revelations with those of Jesus and then see that “my revelations are a much stronger testimony to my Divinity than those of Jesus are to his Divinity” (Kitab-ul-Bariyya). Did he bear no comparison with Jesus when he issued this challenge?
In his answer, the Promised Messiah first presents, as a similar example, the fact that in Barahin Ahmadiyya he wrote that Jesus would descend from heaven but later, after guidance from God, said that he himself was the coming Messiah. This strongly indicates that in the words “in the beginning” he is also referring to the time before he claimed to be Promised Messiah, some time 20 years previously. The revelations which “poured upon me like rain”, calling him prophet, are mentioned by him long before 1901. In 1897 he wrote:
“It is true that, in the revelation which God has sent upon this servant, the words nabi, rasul and mursal occur about myself quite frequently. However, they do not bear their real sense. ...” (Siraj Munir; RK, v. 12, p.5)
6. Even after 1901 the Promised Messiah specifically used the word muhaddas as meaning one who receives revelation in the way that he himself received it. See Ruhani Khaza’in, v. 19, p. 132; v. 20, p. 414; v. 21, p. 351-352; v. 22, p. 404. As late as 17 May 1908 he used this word (Malfuzat, v. 10, p. 421). He has also referred to the concept of muhaddas by referring to its definition in Hadith of people who receive revelation without being prophets. See Ruhani Khaza’in, v. 18, p. 467; v. 21, p. 310-311.
I have given sufficient evidence above to establish conclusively that no change took place in the claims of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in 1901. Therefore the use of the word prophet about him after 1901, by him or by his followers, is in the same sense as that in which it was used before 1901.
Your points in sequence
Now, having demolished the very foundation that most of your points are based upon, I turn to your points in sequence:
I. You are continuing to ignore the positive part of Hazrat Maulana Nur-ud-Din’s sworn declaration where he states what Hazrat Mirza sahib’s office actually is, namely, Mujaddid of the 14th Century. You are also ignoring the point that Mufti Muhammad Sadiq has quoted Hazrat Maulana Nur-ud-Din’s letter in support of his own explanation to Shibli, where he said at the end: “With us, the question of Mirza sahib’s prophethood is not such that it is included in the conditions of the Pledge (bai‘at), nor is it required to be acknowledged when taking the Pledge, nor do we go about preaching it.”
II. I have already countered this in my last e-mail by referring you to Malfuzat, v. 10. p. 155, which is about 28 pages later than where the quotation given by you occurs. The Promised Messiah says there, referring to Hazrat Mujaddid Alif Sani, that whoever has dreams and revelations in abundance is called muhaddas.
III. Regarding Maulana Muhammad Ali’s statement in his book History of the Prophets, you appear to have forgotten your own argument, and hence cannot follow my reply. You were trying to show that by the Maulana’s own definition of what is a prophet in the technical language of Islam, the Promised Messiah is a prophet. I responded that the text you have quoted is part of the full definition given by the Maulana, not the whole definition. An important point he made was that: “To every prophet was given a book for the guidance of his people”. The issue under discussion is not how right is his definition, but whether by his definition the Promised Messiah is a prophet.
You have quoted from page 152 of The Religion of Islam as to what a kitab is. On pages 154 to 156 there is a discussion of the types of revelation where he mentions “the third kind, which is peculiar to the prophets of God … It is the highest and most developed form … The revealed books are a record of this highest form of revelation”. This is what he means by ‘book’. This is also known as wahy nubuwwat or wahy risalat in the writings of the Promised Messiah, who writes:
“… a seal has been put upon wahy nubuwwat since thirteen hundred years ago. Will this seal then break?” (Izala Auham, p. 534; RK, v. 3, p. 387)
“… a rasul receives knowledge of religion through the agency of Gabriel, and the coming of Gabriel as bringing wahy risalat has been closed.” (Izala Auham, p. 761; RK, v. 3, p. 511)
Regarding his own revelation he wrote in an Ishtihar in 1897:
“And it is not wahy nubuwwat but wahy wilayat received by the saints (auliya) through the Prophethood of the Holy Prophet Muhammad due to their perfect following of him, which is what we believe in. If anyone accuses us of going beyond this, he departs from honesty and fear of God.” (Majmu‘a Ishtiharat, v. 2, pages 297-298)
He writes in Izala Auham that if Jesus returned to this world and Allah taught him Islam by revelation then: “the words by which he would be taught all these details would, because of being wahy risalat, be known as a book of Allah” (v. 3, p. 412), “…it is impossible that after the Khatam-un-nabiyyin Gabriel should again start coming to the world bearing wahy risalat and a new book of Allah, even though it conforms to the Quran, should be produced” (v. 3, p. 414)
According to the Promised Messiah, no new book of God can come to the world, even if it consists entirely of Islamic teachings, because the type of revelation that such a book contains came to an end with the Holy Prophet Muhammad.
Your claim that “the Divine decrees and instructions revealed to him to correct the mistaken beliefs of the Muslims and revive the true Islam” constitute a book of Allah (in terms of, say, 2:177 or 2:213 of the Quran) is both wrong and dangerous. I do not think that the Qadiani Jama‘at would ever publicly endorse your statement. If you think I am wrong then please get it endorsed by them!
IV. The announcement that you have quoted from Paigham Sulh was made by a supporter of Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, and it expressed his own belief. At that time the viewpoints of both sides were being aired within the Ahmadiyya community. His claim that he is speaking for all those connected with the newspaper is simply wrong. The same issue of Paigham Sulh also contained the following quotation of the Promised Messiah from his book Ayyam-us-Sulh:
“The Holy Quran does not mention anywhere the return of Jesus, but the finality of prophethood is mentioned perfectly clearly. To make a distinction between an old and a new prophet is mischievous. Neither the Hadith nor the Quran make this distinction. The negation in the Hadith ‘there is no prophet after me’ is comprehensive. What audacity, boldness and insolence it is that, by pursuing shallow conjectures, one should deliberately depart from the clear meaning of the Quran and believe in the coming of a prophet after the Khatam-ul-anbiya, and recommence the process of wahy nubuwwat after its termination!”
If you find it difficult to understand how a statement opposed to our beliefs could appear in Paigham Sulh then perhaps the following example may help. When Mirza Mahmud Ahmad appeared before the Munir Court of Enquiry in 1954, certain extracts from his own speeches in Al-Fazl were put to him. The questions and answers may be read in the Qadiani Jama‘at Urdu publication Tahqiqi ‘adalat men Hazrat Imam Jama‘at Ahmadiyya Ka Bayan. Regarding a speech in Al-Fazl dated 21 August 1917, he replied:
“When this statement was published I did not have a diarist. So I cannot say for sure that my words were reported correctly or not.” (p. 16)
In another answer he said: “In Al-Fazl dated 5 April 1947 my speech has not been reported correctly. The correct report was published in Al-Fazl dated 12 April 1947.” (p. 18)
When a passage was quoted from Al-Fazl dated 16 May 1947, he replied:
“No. I most certainly did not express my views in these words. What I said has been misrepresented to a great extent. … My real views on this matter were published in Al-Fazl dated 21 May 1947.” (p.19)
He was then asked: “Did you issue a correction to what was published in Al-Fazl of 16 May 1947?” He replied: “What was published in it was in effect corrected by Al-Fazl of 21 May 1947.” (p. 19)
Asked whether he had said certain words reported in Tashhiz-ul-Azhan (a magazine founded by him) in June 1919, he replied: “No. The diarist was inexperienced. What I said was misrepresented by him.” (p. 22)
If, in the very highly-organised Qadiani Jama‘at, the talks printed under the name of its leader can be so badly misrepresented, then it is no surprise that a statement like this could appear in Paigham Sulh, which actually carried no name of any Lahore Ahmadi leader, and which was contradicted later.
At the beginning of your point IV you also write: “You claimed that Mirza Mahmud was involved in perhaps trying to falsely elevate the status of MGA soon after his death.”
Please read the following section of an article by Mirza Mahmud Ahmad himself in his own journal Tashhiz-ul-Azhan in April 1910, given on our website:
He writes in it that as the Holy Prophet Muhammad is the Khatam-un-nabiyyin therefore no prophet can come after him, and that: “however many saints (auliya) there are, and righteous and pious persons, they will get all that they get through service to him.” So only auliya can now come. There is no mention here that apart from those auliya a prophet also came who died just two years ago!
He also writes:
“before the Holy Prophet Muhammad there arose hundreds of prophets in the world that we know about and who had great success. … But thirteen hundred years have passed since the Holy Prophet’s claim, and no one who claimed prophethood has ever attained success.”
The “hundreds of prophets” before the Holy Prophet must obviously include the so-called non-law-bearing prophets that you consider can still come. This statement means that no prophet of any kind (like any of those “hundreds”) can come after the Holy Prophet.
This is why we say that Mirza Mahmud Ahmad tried later on to “falsely elevate” the status of the Promised Messiah.
V. Maulana Muhammad Ali’s use of ‘prophet’ that you quote from 1906 is, of course, part of the usage in Ahmadiyya literature that was explained by Mufti Muhammad Sadiq in 1910 when he said that Ahmadis are not required to acknowledge that Hazrat Mirza sahib was a prophet, nor does the Movement preach his prophethood.
I have now read through two lengthy articles by Maulana Muhammad Ali in the Review of Religions for 1906: one is a life of the Promised Messiah and the other is a sketch of the Movement. In both articles, the key claims of the founder are given chronologically as that of Mujaddid of the 14th century, made in the early 1880s, and as that of Promised Messiah, made in 1891. There is no mention whatsoever of any change in claim after 1891. In fact it is 1891 which is the dividing year, as the Maulana writes:
“But the year 1891 was a time of great transition in his life, and it divides his life into two parts” (p. 235).
He uses the word ‘messenger’ for Hazrat Mirza sahib even when he was a mujaddid. Speaking of his claim as mujaddid he writes:
“This claim was at the publication of the Barahin-i-Ahmadiyya generally accepted by the Muslim theologians and laymen, and they rejoiced at the appearance of a reformer among them in accordance with the prophecy which promised a reformer to the Muslims in the beginning of every new century.” (p. 234)
A little later he writes:
“It was the year  in which he announced that he was the Promised Messenger of the last ages, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi. As a Messenger of Heaven, the Muslims submitted to his claims and had no fault to find with him, but as the Promised Messenger … he was called an impostor, an arch-heretic and the anti-Christ.” (p. 235; bolding is mine)
It is absolutely clear and evident that the words ‘Messenger of Heaven’ are being used for mujaddid and a recipient of revelation. Those were the only claims to which the Muslims submitted before 1891. Similarly he writes a little further on:
“… he was hailed as the reformer for the fourteenth century of Hejira, and was even accepted to be a recipient of Divine revelation and a messenger of heaven…” (p. 235; bolding is mine)
It is stated in these extracts that the Muslims accepted him as Mujaddid, as “a messenger of heaven”, but then rejected him when he claimed to be the Promised Mujaddid fulfilling the prophecy of the coming of the Messiah among Muslims.
Regarding the quotation you have given, he writes something very similar in another article in the issue I have cited above, as follows:
“To the Muslims is promised a revival in the beginning of every new century of Hejira, but this revival is in accordance with the Divine law, for of it we are told in a tradition of the Holy Prophet that ‘Almighty God will raise in the beginning of every century one who shall revive for it its faith’. … God’s way of bringing about a spiritual and moral regeneration in the world is to raise a prophet, and such a one He has even now raised in the person of the Promised Messiah” (p. 228; bolding is mine)
Here the Qadiani Jama‘at would, of course, quote just the last sentence, while the text earlier in the same paragraph clearly shows that he is referring to Mujaddids.
Thus Maulana Muhammad Ali’s use of the words ‘prophet’ and ‘messenger’ about the Promised Messiah was in exactly the same sense as that in which the Promised Messiah himself used these terms about himself, from long before 1901, as meaning a mujaddid sent according to the Hadith report about the coming of mujaddids who receives revelation in the manner that saints in Islam receive revelation.
Articles in the Review of Religions also contained quotations from the Promised Messiah’s books before 1901 relating to prophethood. For example:
“If the door of prophethood had not been closed, a muhaddas possessed in himself the power and capability to become a prophet, and according to this power and capability it is allowable to take a muhaddas as a prophet. That is, we can say: the muhaddas is a prophet.” (Review of Religions, 1904, v. 3, p. 117; from A’ina Kamalat-i Islam, p. 238)
“This is the Umma which, though not having any prophets in it, has those who receive the word of God like prophets, and though not having any messengers (rasul) in it, has those who show God’s clear signs like messengers.” (Review of Religions, v. 3, p. 131; from A’ina Kamalat-i Islam, p. 224)
This shows positively that even long after 1901 his pre-1901 statements about his claim were still considered in the community as valid and applicable.
Absolute misunderstanding of Izala Auham
You then imagine a supposed question posed to the Promised Messiah and his answer on page 575 of Izala Auham. The “question” according to you is:
“Jesus, son of Mary, at the time of his coming would be one of the followers of the Holy Prophet, how could he be a full fledged prophet as well, especially as Hazrat Muhammad is the last and final prophet?!”
This is not a question posed by anyone but a statement of the Promised Messiah himself. It is the Promised Messiah who is saying: “As Jesus at the time of his coming would be a perfect follower (ummati), he cannot possibly be a rasul, as the concepts of rasul and ummati are opposite to each other; moreover as our Holy Prophet is the Khatam-un-nabiyyin this prevents the coming of another prophet”. It is highly significant that you have characterised a statement by the Promised Messiah about his own beliefs as being an objection raised by his opponents.
What you are calling as “his answer” is a continuation of this statement, reading:
“However, a prophet who obtains light from the lamp of the prophethood of Muhammad and does not possess perfect prophethood, who is in other words also called muhaddas, he is outside this restriction.”
Barahin Ahmadiyya, vol. 5
Here a question is indeed asked: How can you say that the Messiah is an ummati when he is called nabi in Sahih Muslim?
You say that this arose because Muslims mistakenly believe that an ummati cannot be a prophet, and you claim that: “Even MGA believed in that mistaken concept at one time”, giving an example of this mistaken concept from 1899. The fact is that never did he say, at any time after 1899, that his earlier concept was mistaken. This is a completely false and unfounded claim which you use to misinterpret his reply.
His reply relates to what meaning the word nabi can be given in this Hadith report. In the next paragraph he discusses the problems which arise if the word nabi here is taken as meaning one to whom Shariah is revealed, and then writes:
“If nabi is given only the meaning that Allah speaks to him and reveals some secrets of the unseen to him, then there is no harm if an ummati becomes such a nabi, especially as God has given the hope in many places in the Holy Quran that an ummati can be privileged with Divine revelation and God speaks to and communicates with His auliya.” (p. 139; RK, v. 21, p.307)
So Hazrat Mirza sahib, in answer to this question, certainly has mentioned that persons to whom the word nabi applies in this sense are auliya. Moreover, continuing the same discussion over the next few pages, he gives the examples of the mothers of Moses and Jesus as those “who received sure revelation and communication from God” (p. 143; RK, v. 21, p. 311) without being prophets.
It may be added that later on in the same book he answers a question from an enquirer which was as follows:
“In Hadith reports the Jesus to come has been called nabiullah. Can it be proved from the Quran and Hadith that a muhaddas has also been called nabi?”
This is exactly the question which the Qadiani Jama‘at now asks us! His answer begins as follows:
“In Arabic and Hebrew the word nabi means only one who prophesies after receiving revelation from God. Since according to the Holy Quran the door of such prophethood is not closed which a man obtains by having the privilege of Divine revelation from God through obedience to the Holy Prophet Muhammad, and he is informed of hidden matters by revelation, why should not such prophets arise in this umma?” (p. 181; RK, v. 21, p. 351-352)
If the Promised Messiah now believed that he was not a muhaddas, or that a muhaddas cannot be called nabi, this was the place to give that reply. His answer is clearly that, according to the linguistic meaning of the word nabi, a muhaddas can be called nabi. As he says: “Why should not such prophets arise in this umma?”
Later in the same discussion he writes:
“… provided that the truest and fullest obedience is rendered to our Leader and Master the Holy Prophet Muhammad, one can have the privilege of Divine revelation. For this reason it is recorded in Hadith: Ulama ummati ka-anbiya Bani Israil, that is, ‘the spiritual savants from among my umma are like the prophets of the Israelites’. In this Saying too, the godly savants are on the one hand called ummati, and on the other hand they are likened to prophets.” (pages 183-184; RK, v. 21, p. 354)
Clearly, the prophets arising in the Umma, as mentioned in the first extract, are those persons who are described in this Hadith report as “the ulama of my Umma are like the prophets of the Israelites”. Again, he goes on to give the examples of the mothers of Moses and Jesus, who were not prophets, as recipients of revelation.
VI. In your point VI you again begin with the assertion that the Promised Messiah was wrong about his status during the ten years 1891 to 1901. I quote:
“There was a time when MGA used to say that whenever his followers were to see the word “nabi” in relation to him, they were instructed to mentally cross it out and replace with “muhaddas”. However later he was to say, the term muhaddas did not do proper justice to his actual rank, and insisted nabi also should be used!”
It wasn’t only to his followers that he gave this instruction but this was a witnessed, public statement addressed to all Muslims to this effect. This statement was issued at the end of a debate he was having with Maulvi Abdul Hakim in Lahore in 1892 on the word muhaddas and whether revelation continues among Muslims. He referred to this debate much after 1901, in a talk on 28 October 1904, as follows:
“I had a debate in Lahore with a Maulvi on the word muhaddas, that it says in Hadith reports that muhaddas is he to whom God speaks, and this was about Hazrat Umar. That Maulvi replied that as Islam is deprived of Divine revelation after the Holy Prophet, therefore Hazrat Umar did not attain this rank. It is as if in this Umma only dajjals can come.” (Malfuzat, vol. 7, p. 229)
The Promised Messiah has here reaffirmed the stance he took in that debate.
The question arises, when did he first announce that the term muhaddas “did not do proper justice to his rank” and that nabi must be used? If it was in Ayk Ghalati Ka Izala, then it is absolutely nonsensical for him to begin that pamphlet by blaming his followers for giving wrong answers to opponents about his claim, because the follower in question was doing only what the Promised Messiah had instructed people to do!
If he “insisted nabi also should be used” then it is surprising that when his gravestone was erected after his death, the inscription upon it described him not as prophet but as Mujaddid of the fourteenth century.
You then write:
“Just as there were prophets before Muhammad perfect and complete within their sphere and times, they were incomplete and imperfect in relation to the prophet. In the same way, all previous auliya in the ummah bore a reflection to their master, Prophet Muhammad, but were imperfect and incomplete in relation to the Promised Messiah.”
As you say, the Holy Prophet Muhammad was the most perfect prophet, excelling the earlier prophets, but he still remained a prophet and was not elevated to a category beyond prophets. Similarly, the Promised Messiah even being the most perfect reflection of the Holy Prophet as compared to other auliya, does not go outside and above the category of auliya and mujaddids.
Quotations from Haqiqat-ul-Wahy
Please be informed that a member of the Qadiani Jama‘at, Mr Dawood Majoka, presented to me in July by e-mail twelve quotations from Haqiqat-ul-Wahy to respond to. These include the quotations you have given (e.g. p. 30, p. 391). In response I compiled a detailed article which I placed on our website, showing that in Haqiqat-ul-Wahy the Promised Messiah has presented the Holy Prophet Muhammad as the Last of all Prophets and claimed himself to be a Mujaddid. That article is at:
Please refer to it as I cannot repeat the arguments for every Qadiani who e-mails us.
Regarding your quotation from Nuzul-ul-Masih, page 3, please turn to page 89 of the same book. There the Promised Messiah mentions examples of revelation to non-prophets, including to companions of the Holy Prophet, and then adds:
“To conclude, if a man, due to his blindness, denies my revelation, then if he is nonetheless called a Muslim, and is not a secret atheist, it should be part of his belief that there can be sure and definite Divine revelation, and that just as in previous religious communities many men and women used to receive God’s revelation, even though they were not prophets, in this Umma too it is essential that sure and definite revelation should exist, so that it does not become the least of the nations instead of the best of the nations.” (RK, v. 18, p. 467)
The text I have placed in bold is the definition in Hadith of a muhaddas.
Regarding your statements that “MGA wrote he was the perfect, full and complete zilli nabi” and “zilli prophethood is real prophethood”, we note that the Promised Messiah writes in Haqiqat-ul-Wahy:
“My prophethood is the zill of the Holy Prophet, not real prophethood.” (page 150, footnote; RK, v. 22, p. 154)
He has explained this concept of zill repeatedly as follows:
“Of course, muhaddases will come who will be spoken to by God, and possess some attributes of full prophethood by way of reflection (zill), and in some ways be coloured with the colour of prophethood. I am one of these.” (Nishan Asmani, p. 28; RK, v. 4, p 390-391)
“Sainthood (wilayat) is the perfect zill of prophethood.” (Hujjat-Ullah, p. 14; RK, v. 12, p. 162)
“The prophet is like the real thing, and a saint is like the zill.” (Karamat-us-Sadiqeen, p. 85; RK, v. 7, p. 127)
If zilli prophethood is real prophethood then you must consider the implications of the following passage in Haqiqat-ul-Wahy for your beliefs:
“God declared me as the manifestation of all the prophets and attributed to me the names of all prophets. I am Adam … [other names of prophets mentioned here] …, I am Moses, I am David, I am Jesus, and I am the perfect manifestation of the name of the Holy Prophet, that is to say, I am Muhammad and Ahmad by way of zill.” (p. 73, footnote; RK, v. 22, p. 76)
If zill is “real” then the Promised Messiah should be considered, according to your interpretation, to be the real Muhammad and Ahmad! Moreover, you have mentioned that he is superior to Jesus, but the above quotation, in the light of your interpretation, would make him superior to all prophets, as he is the only one who combines them all in his person! So you and the Qadiani Jama‘at should declare whether these are the beliefs you hold about his position and status.
Hazrat Mirza sahib himself replaced word nabi by muhaddas
I refer to your comment that the text “I am the only one singled out to be called nabi” would become meaningless if the word nabi is replaced by muhaddas, as per his 1892 instruction. What you have not noticed is that even his pre-1901 statements of this kind become “meaningless” in the same way if the word nabi is replaced by muhaddas in the manner that you have suggested. For example, consider the pre-1901 statements:
“I say it repeatedly that these words rasul and mursal and nabi undoubtedly occur about me in my revelation from God” (Siraj Munir; RK, v. 12, p. 5)
or the statement:
“And it should also be remembered that in Sahih Muslim the word nabi has occurred with reference to the Promised Messiah, that is to say, by way of metaphor.” (Ayyam as-Sulh, p. 75; RK, v. 14, p. 309)
Using your interpretation of ‘replacement’, we can render even those of his statements “meaningless” which were written during the period when his replacement instruction was valid!
What is wrong with your view of ‘replacement’ is that you are replacing nabi by muhaddas where nabi is a quoted term. When he writes “I am the only one singled out to be called nabi”, he is quoting the word nabi from Hadith. In the previous paragraph on page 390 he writes:
“There is a prophecy in Hadith that a man will be born among the followers of the Holy Prophet, who will be called Jesus and the son of Mary and called by the name nabi.”
What his ‘replacement’ instruction says is that the word nabi is meant in the sense of muhaddas. It is the sense which is to be replaced. The Promised Messiah himself has done this replacement of the word nabi in this Hadith by muhaddas in the following manner:
“There is a Hadith in Sahih Muslim that the Messiah will come as a nabi of Allah. Now if, symbolically, by ‘Messiah’ or the ‘son of Mary’ is taken to mean an ummati who holds the rank of muhaddasiyyat then no problem arises because a muhaddas is in one sense also a nabi.” (Izala Auham, page 586)
“A sign of the coming Promised Messiah, which is written, is that he shall be a nabi of God, meaning one who receives revelation from God. However, full and complete prophethood is not meant here because that has been sealed. Rather, that prophethood is meant which is limited to the significance of muhaddasiyya, which obtains light from the lamp of the prophethood of Muhammad.” (Izala Auham, page 701).
Besides this, it turns out that the Promised Messiah himself has done a replacement of nabi by muhaddas in this very section of Haqiqat-ul-Wahy. Immediately before the text I quoted just above from page 390, he writes:
“Mujaddid Sahib Sirhindi has written that although some persons in this Umma are chosen to receive Divine revelation, till the Day of Judgment, but the man who is privileged with this revelation abundantly (bi-kasrat) and has matters of the unseen revealed to him in abundance is called nabi.”
Referring to exactly this text, the Promised Messiah stated, on 6 March 1908, some months after the publication of Haqiqat-ul-Wahy:
“Mujaddid Sahib writes that these dreams and revelation which people have now and then, if someone has them in abundance (kasrat) he is called muhaddas. To sum up, I have explained this in detail in my book Haqiqat-ul-Wahy.” (Malfuzat, v. 10, p. 155)
So the Promised Messiah has himself replaced the word nabi by muhaddas on the very pages referred to by you!
(Your next point about claim of superiority over Jesus has been covered by me near the beginning of my present reply.)
Trying to make metaphorical into real
To nullify the clear statement in Haqiqat-ul-Wahy that “I have been called a nabi by way of metaphor, not by way of reality”, you write:
“He [Holy Prophet Muhammad] is the only real person and his followers are mere images, in varying degrees of perfection. MGA was the perfect, complete zilli nabi, but there have been literally thousands of people … called walis, etc. but can be called partial zilli nabis.”
However perfect an image may be, it still remains one of the images and does not become real.
As the Promised Messiah has explained, very directly, what exactly is “a prophet by way of metaphor (majaz)”, we don’t need to resort to any indirect analogies like the one you are using about Mahdi. He wrote:
“There is no claim of prophethood. On the contrary, the claim is of muhaddasiyya, which has been advanced by the command of God. … if muhaddasiyya, which is described in the Holy Quran alongside prophethood and messengership, and for which there is a hadith in Sahih Bukhari, is declared to be metaphorical (majazi) prophethood, or is called one of the aspects of prophethood, does this imply a claim to prophethood?” (Izala Auham, pages 421-422; RK, v. 3, p. 320-321)
“…the coming Messiah, due to being a muhaddas, is also metaphorically (majaz-an) a prophet.” (Izala Auham, p. 349; RK, v. 3, p. 278)
“We believe and acknowledge that, according to the real meaning of nubuwwat, after the Holy Prophet Muhammad no new or former prophet can come. The Holy Quran forbids the appearance of any such prophets. But in a metaphorical (majazi) sense God can call any recipient of revelation as nabi or mursal.” (Siraj Munir, p. 3; RK, v. 12, p. 5)
“… sometimes the revelation from God contains such words about some of His saints (auliya) in a metaphorical (majaz) and figurative sense; they are not meant by way of reality … The epithet ‘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 (majazi) 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, p. 28; RK, v. 11, p. 28)
Thus he has clearly described “a prophet by way of metaphor (majaz)” as being a muhaddas or a saint who receives revelation.
As to one who is a prophet “not by way of reality”, I quote again an extract I gave in my last e-mail, showing that it is auliya who are “not prophets by way of reality”:
“God speaks to, and communicates with, His saints (auliya) in this Umma. They are given the colour of prophets, but they are not prophets in reality” (Mawahib-ur-Rahman, published January 1903, p. 66; RK, v. 19, p. 285)
If you want to search for an analogy then here is a better one from Haqiqat-ul-Wahy (which of course is later than 1901 whereas your reference from Arba‘in is from before 1901 !). He writes on pages 63-64 (RK, v. 22, p. 65-66) that in the scriptures before the Quran various prophets have been referred to metaphorically as sons of God and further that in the prophecies in those scriptures the Holy Prophet Muhammad has been referred to metaphorically as God. He writes:
“It does not mean that they are in reality the sons of God … In actual fact neither were those prophets the sons of God, nor is the Holy Prophet God.”
They were called sons of God, or in case of the Holy Prophet he was called God, by way of metaphor and not by way of reality. Now your interpretation of Hazrat Mirza sahib being “prophet by way of metaphor and not by way of reality” is as follows:
“In relation to the Prophet Muhammad his nabuwwat is only an image or metaphor so to speak, but it does not negate he is a nabi on his own”
If this interpretation is applied here then it would mean that it is only in relation to God that these prophets were metaphorically sons of God, and it is only in relation to God that our Holy Prophet was metaphorically God. Otherwise, when considered “on their own”, these prophets were actually sons of God and our Holy Prophet was actually God!
You could even further support this bizarre interpretation by pointing out that the Promised Messiah goes on to quote a verse of the Quran where the Holy Prophet is commanded to address people as “O my servants”. He writes:
“In this place, instead of ‘O servants of Allah’ (ya ‘ibadullah), it says ‘O my servants’ (ya ‘ibadi), whereas people are servants of God, not servants of the Holy Prophet. But this is in the sense of metaphor.” (RK, v. 22, p. 66)
But you would say that this proves that the Holy Prophet, while not being God in relation to God, is actually God in relation to people.
Regarding the text you have quoted, the words “real and perfect” show that “real” is not being used as opposed to non-real or metaphorical, but as a contrast with imperfect. This is also what he says there. Two pages earlier he writes:
“Although the attribute of being Mahdi is found in all prophets, because they were all taught by God, but in our Holy Prophet it is found particularly and perfectly and completely because the other prophets also had human teachers” (RK, v. 17, p. 358)
In a slightly earlier book in the same volume in Ruhani Khaza’in he writes:
“The Holy Prophet was the perfect Mahdi, and on the next level below him was Moses … There has been only one perfect and real Mahdi in the world … So even though the Holy Prophet is the perfect Mahdi as compared to Moses in every way, but because Moses preceded him in time, he is called the like of Moses.” (RK, v. 17, p. 255)
So “real” here is not as opposed to “metaphorical”, since Moses was also a Mahdi but was one level below the Holy Prophet. In fact, Moses even had the advantage of the precedence of time, so that the Holy Prophet is called the ‘like of Moses’.
Anjuman Himayat-i-Islam (AHI) Questions
VII. Your comments show that you appear not to have read what I wrote. You write:
“You have given more background, which I appreciate, but you have not refuted anything.”
I have not just given “more” background, I have given the background when your Qadiani Jama‘at source had given you none whatsoever. While appreciating this, you should also ask the Qadiani Jama‘at why they committed this gross misrepresentation by quoting only a small part of the Maulana’s reply and by concealing the background.
As to “but you have not refuted anything”, that is for others to judge when our e-mail exchange is published. I have no illusions whatever that anything I say could possibly make the devotees of the Qadiani Jama‘at change their minds.
You write: “When pressed specifically to explain his writings of 30 years ago on the status of MGA and whether he modified them, he ducks away …”
But he was never pressed specifically! The AHI question does not mention his writings of 30 years ago. As I said in my last e-mail, their question number 2 was:
“Has your belief about Mirza sahib been the same from the beginning till today, or has it ever changed, and if so why did it change?”
He referred them to his reply to their question number 1, given immediately above, where his closing words are:
“Hazrat Mirza sahib wrote — Izala Auham page 421 — that his claim was not of being a prophet but a muhaddas. I took the bai‘at upon these beliefs and I still hold the same beliefs now.”
This is a plain and direct answer to their question. The Maulana then expands his answer and himself introduces the mention of his writings of thirty years ago, which according to you he is ducking away from. The Qadiani Jama‘at reasoning is truly unique and remarkable! Maulana Muhammad Ali himself raises this topic, then he himself publishes the questions and answers in his community’s newpaper, which otherwise would have remained unpublished, and according to Qadiani Jama‘at logic he is ducking away from that topic!
Continuing with your invention, you write: “He insisted that the fatwa should simply be based on the writings of the present day that state the Promised Messiah was not a real prophet knowing this would be acceptable to them. His personal writings from thirty years ago were to be off the table.”
He answered in two parts. Firstly, if the AHI is to pass a resolution to amend its rules saying that members of the AAIIL cannot be its members then that resolution must refer to the beliefs of the organization known as AAIIL. Secondly, he begins:
“3. If it is a question of a fatwa about me personally, …”
So he is answering the question about himself. You say: “he answered their question with another question”. Let me repeat his reply, continuing from above:
“… then a fatwa of kufr based on writings of thirty years ago will not prove useful. Especially at this time, when an exalted personality like Iqbal has declared a man to be kafir whom just four years ago he made the president of a Muslim committee. Sir Muhammad Iqbal was in the forefront in making Mirza Mahmud Ahmad president of the Kashmir committee. And the Jama‘at which he declared as a true model of Islamic life some 16 or 17 years before that in his speech at Aligarh, today he calls it kafir. So it is appropriate that whatever fatwa you give, it should be based on writings of the present day.”
Please tell us where do you see the question or question mark in his reply! The Maulana’s writings of thirty years ago will not prove useful to them because he will put forward the opinions and actions of the President of the AHI (Dr Sir Muhammad Iqbal), the very man who has told the AHI to expel Ahmadis from its membership, which show that he regarded all Ahmadis as Muslims all through this time, from well before thirty years ago to even just recently. He is not saying, as you allege, that “his personal writings from thirty years ago were to be off the table”; he is saying that in that case the past statements and actions of the President of the AHI (and indeed those of the AHI itself for the past almost fifty years) should also be on the table.
The allegation against the Maulana on the basis of the thirty years old writings were already well-known before this questioning in 1936. The Qadiani Jama‘at had been publicizing these charges since 1914, and the Maulana had published replies on two occasions, in 1915 and 1918. This was all a matter of public knowledge. As late as 1932, when a man wrote to Iqbal saying that he was considering joining the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jama‘at, Iqbal wrote back with the following advice:
“As to the Ahmadiyya Movement, there are many members of the Lahore Jama‘at whom I consider to be honourable (ghairat-mand) Muslims, and I sympathise with their efforts to propagate Islam. To join a movement or not depends very much on one’s personal inclination. You should decide for yourself whether to join the movement or not … But indeed, the passion for the propagation of Islam that is to be found in most members of his [Hazrat Mirza sahib’s] Jama‘at is worthy of praise.” (Iqbal Nama, Part II, Makatib Iqbal, Muhammad Ashraf Publishers, Lahore, 1951, pages 230 – 232, Letter no. 87, dated 7 April 1932)
Let T. Ijaz and the Qadiani Jama‘at explain why such opinions of the President of the AHI, expressed four years previously, should not be taken into account by the AHI in determining whether Lahore Ahmadis are Muslims or not.
You write: “I strongly disagree with the notion that Maulana Sahib’s previous writings need not be considered. It is impossible. He was not just another Tom, Dick and Harry. He was the religious leader and founder and prominent intellectual.”
Iqbal also was not “just another Tom, Dick and Harry”. He was President of the AHI, as well as being regarded as an intellectual leader of all the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent and a world-famous figure. Why shouldn’t his views be “on the table”?
You also falsely allege that the Maulana wanted the AHI to consider his present day writings because those “would be acceptable to them”. Consider therefore the last question that the AHI put to him, as follows:
“You have been emphasising in your published letter that Ahmadis are Muslims and that they regard non-Ahmadis as Muslims. By ‘Ahmadi’ here do you mean only members of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at Islam Lahore or do you also include the Qadiani group within this term? If the Qadiani group is also included within this term, then is it their belief that non-Ahmadis are Muslims?”
Tricky question, isn’t it? Either he excludes Qadianis from being Ahmadis or he has to explain why they regard other Muslims as non-Muslims. The Maulana’s reply was as follows:
“In my letter I was speaking only of members of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at Islam. However, the Qadiani group also calls itself ‘Ahmadi’ and I consider them to be a sect of the Muslims.
It is a well-known doctrine of the Qadianis that they call other Muslims as kafir. But to my knowledge there are many Qadianis who do not do so. The right way for you or your Anjuman, if you want to give some fatwa, is to enquire from them. But you will not find many Muslim sects who don’t call each other kafir. There are two groups of Hanafis here: Barelvis and Deobandis, both of which have great scholars among them. Each calls the other as kafir. I think that if you want to find a Muslim who has not been pronounced as kafir in a fatwa, it is going to be very difficult.”
He has come to the defence of the Qadiani Jama‘at here. Perhaps T. Ijaz and the Qadiani Jama‘at would like to pass their judgment on this reply, whether Maulana Muhammad Ali “ducked away” from the question or if he gave a reply that would be “acceptable” to the AHI.
You wrote at the beginning of your point VII: “On the topic of Muhammad Ali Sahib and his problems with Anjuman H Islam …”
You perhaps are unaware of the problems of the Qadiani Jama‘at with the same people. Dr Iqbal’s campaign to have Ahmadis declared as non-Muslim was primarily directed at the Qadiani Jama‘at. Yet you feel so much sympathy for the AHI that you regard them as having “strong grounds for being suspicious” and as having justified concerns which the Maulana failed to satisfy. Therefore I would like to put to you the “suspicions” and “concerns” expressed by Iqbal, in that same campaign, regarding the Qadiani Jama‘at. In his famous statement entitled Qadianis and Orthodox Muslims, published in those days, he writes as follows about the Qadiani Jama‘at:
that it “must, therefore, be regarded by every Muslim as a serious danger to the solidarity of Islam”,
that it is “harmful to the integrity of Muslim society”,
that it “apparently retains some of the more important externals of Islam with an inwardness wholly inimical to the spirit and aspirations of Islam”,
that Islam “cannot reconcile itself to a movement which threatens its present solidarity”,
and that “heretical movements in Muslim Iran under the pressure of pre-Islamic Magian ideas invented the words buruz, hulul, zill.”
Please tell us whether Iqbal also had strong grounds for these concerns and suspicions about the Qadiani Jama‘at, which he expressed as part of the same campaign in which the AHI was asking Maulana Muhammad Ali those questions.
Finally, I must mention that, far from “ducking away” from this issue, Maulana Muhammad Ali issued sworn statements affirming that his belief regarding the claim of the Promised Messiah was the same after 1901 as it was before 1901, that he was a muhaddas and not a prophet. In 1915, he issued a sworn statement, signed by a total of seventy Ahmadis, that they had joined the Movement before 1901, believing Hazrat Mirza sahib to be a muhaddas and not a prophet, and that they had never heard from any person whatsoever in 1901, or later, that he changed his claim to prophet, until Mirza Mahmud Ahmad propagated this notion in 1915. He challenged members of the Qadiani Jama‘at who were in the Movement since before 1901 to issue a similar sworn statement, to the effect that they had in 1901 changed their belief from regarding him as muhaddas to regarding him as prophet. None of them ever, including Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, made such a sworn declaration.
Later, in 1944 and 1946, he took public oaths about his beliefs in response to demands by certain Qadianis. During 1944 he published a statement in Paigham Sulh continuously in several issues accusing Mirza Mahmud Ahmad of fabricating the theory of change of claim in 1901. The first part of this statement was as follows:
“Mirza Mahmud Ahmad has made a false statement and committed a fabrication against the Promised Messiah that in 1901 he changed his claim in this way that, while previously denying a claim to prophethood and sending curses upon anyone who would claim to be a prophet, he now made a claim to prophethood himself, and cancelled his former writings of several years containing denials of a claim to prophethood.”
He thus confronted this issue head-on. Note that if the Promised Messiah used the word ‘prophet’ about himself in the same way after 1901 as before 1901, as meaning muhaddas, then it is also in the same sense that this word is used in Maulana Muhammad Ali’s writings after 1901.
Your question here is: “since MGA clearly applies the prophecy to himself, why doesn’t Muhammad Ali Sahib say so in his Quran commentary that it can apply to him also?” But he does! The three verses following the one referring to the prophecy mention the work of the propagation and defence of Islam to be done by this Prophet, and the third of these verses is: “He it is Who sent His Messenger with the guidance and the Religion of Truth that he may make it prevail other all religions” (61:9). In the footnote on this verse, Maulana Muhammad Ali writes:
“The commentators say that this predominance will be brought about through the Promised Messiah.”
The task of bringing about the predominance of Islam in the world, to be done by the Prophet named Ahmad, will be completed in the latter days through a follower of his, namely the Promised Messiah. This is the only sense in which this prophecy of ‘Ahmad’ refers to the Promised Messiah.
In the Qadiani Jama‘at English Quran commentary, the footnote under the ‘Ahmad’ verse is 43 lines long, the first 35 lines being devoted to showing how the Holy Prophet Muhammad fulfils this prophecy (as well as the last 3 lines). There are 5 lines referring to the Promised Messiah, which begin as follows:
“Thus the prophecy mentioned in the verse applies to the Holy
Prophet, but as a corollary it may also apply to the Promised Messiah”
(See their website page: http://www.alislam.org/quran/tafseer/?page=1132)
These 5 lines out of 43, and the wording “…as a corollary it may also apply …”, hardly constitute a strong application of the prophecy to Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad!
The important point I made in earlier e-mails is that what is stated in the Qadiani Jama‘at English Quran commentary is exactly the opposite of the position which Mirza Mahmud Ahmad had put forward most vigorously, in great detail, in Anwar-i Khilafat in 1916, from page 18 to page 52. He wrote:
According to him, this prophecy of the coming ‘Ahmad’ remained entirely unfulfilled until Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad appeared. It was only after it was fulfilled in the person of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad that it became possible to say that it also refers, indirectly, to the Holy Prophet.
The Qadiani Jama‘at has quite obviously abandoned these strongly-expressed beliefs of Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, and the reason for this must be to make their views more acceptable to the general Muslims.
Implications of regarding Promised Messiah as prophet
You have repeatedly written that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was “a real prophet” possessing “real prophethood”. The implications of belief in his “real prophethood” have been clearly stated by Mirza Mahmud Ahmad in his book The Truth About the Split (available also online on the Qadiani Jama‘at official website). He wrote:
“Now, as we hold that the revelation which came to the Promised Messiah are such that their acceptance is obligatory on mankind in general, to us, the man who rejects the Promised Messiah is a Kafir agreeably to the teachings of the Holy Quran” (p. 59)
“Now, as Islam bases its judgements upon what is patent and not upon what is possible, it cannot but class as Kafir such as fail to accept any of the prophets, even though such failure may be due to their want of information concerning him.” (p. 59-60)
“I wrote that as we believed the Promised Messiah to be one of the prophets of God, we could not possibly regard his deniers as Muslims” (p. 137-138)
“… all those so-called Muslims who have not entered into his Bai‘at formally, wherever they may be, are Kafirs and outside the pale of Islam, even though they may not have heard the name of the Promised Messiah.” (p. 55)
(This book at the link: http://www.alislam.org/library/split)
If Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was a prophet then there is no escape from the infamous belief mentioned in these extracts, namely, that all Muslims other than pledged members of the Qadiani Jama‘at are actually not Muslims. But this is the notorious belief that the Qadiani Jama‘at has been trying to get away from for more than forty years now. The only way to escape from it is to declare that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was not a prophet but a mujaddid, muhaddas and wali.