Thursday, 14 February 2019

Did Ghulam Ahmad Claim Prophesy? (Part 10)

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
والصلاة والسلام على نبيه الامين
والعاقبة للمتقين
Mirza Mahmud Ahmad (1889-1965), the son of the 19th century Indian Muslim reformer, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, claimed to be the Muslih Ma’wud or “Promised Reformer”, and was elected his father’s second successor upon the death of the first successor, Mawlana Nur ud-Din. The Ahmadiyya community suffered a split within its ranks upon the election of Mirza Mahmud Ahmad to the office of the caliphate. A dissenting party, led by Ghulam Ahmad’s companion, Mawlana Muhammad Ali, rejected the caliphate of Mirza Mahmud Ahmad due to the development of a doctrinal difference on the issue of the finality of prophesy. As I have attempted to prove in this series of articles, the founder of the Ahmadiyya movement, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, did not claim to be a prophet in the real sense of the word. Rather, he considered himself a Muhaddath and appointed by Allah Most High, from Whom he received regular communication, commissioned for the reformation of the Muslims and the revival of true Islam. He also claimed to be the Mujaddid of the 14th century of the Islamic Hijri calendar, as well as the promised Messiah and Mahdi. However, it was Mirza Mahmud Ahmad and his party, known as the Qadiyanis, who insisted that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was a prophet in the real sense of the word, albeit a non-law-bearing prophet subordinate to the Shari’a of Prophet Muhammad (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam) – the Qur’an and Sunna. This was a great deviation within the movement, the responsibility for which lies squarely on the shoulders of Mirza Mahmud Ahmad. Under the latter’s leadership, the Qadiyanis rapidly became the dominant faction within the movement, and the dissenting party, led by Mawlana Muhammad Ali and based in Lahore, eventually fizzled out and today is a very insignificant organization with a negligable following. In a sense, the same thing happened to the Ahmadiyya movement which happened to the Jesus movement. The two movements have many parallels. Like the Mosaic Messiah before him, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, claiming to be the Mohammedan Messiah, was deeply misunderstood by many of his own followers. While the majority of Jesus’s followers deviated from his teachings, and fell into the error of deifying him, the majority of Ghulam Ahmad’s followers fell into the error of considering him an infallible prophet in the real sense of the word. The majority of the followers of Jesus, who became known as Christians, became an altogether separate religious community, and were quickly cut off from their Jewish roots and the observance of the Torah which was so central to the teachings of Jesus the Messiah. Likewise, the Qadiyanis, under the leadership of their own version of Paul of Tarsus, namely, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, have totally separated and become cut off from the Umma of Prophet Muhammad (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam), even going to the extent of refusing to pray behind the appointed imam for the Sacred Mosque in Mecca. They overly exaggerate their sectarian identity. The disciples and early, sincere followers of Jesus the Messiah, were indeed a unique and true sect of the Jews in their time. They held firmly to the observance of the Torah and the teachings of the Israelite Prophets. Jesus himself continued the ministry and the preaching of John the Baptist’s apocalyptic message. They did not believe Jesus was divine or the begotten “Son of God”, but were ardent unitarian monotheists. Nevertheless, these true followers of Jesus were drowned out by the misguided Christians under the influence of the antichrist deceiver, Paul of Tarsus. It was only until the advent of the Seal of the Prophets, Muhammad of Tihama (peace be upon him & his family), some six centuries after the passing away of Jesus the Messiah, that the original, monotheistic teachings of the latter were fully restored. Likewise, I believe that Ghulam Ahmad, in his announcement of a promised reformer to come after him, was referring to a figure who would arise within his movement and community, to revive his original teachings and repudiate the deviation of the Qadiyanis who have gone to extremes and who have made Ghulam Ahmad an actual prophet, defying the fundamental belief in the Finality of Prophesy that is so central to Islam. According to the Qadiyani narrative, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s claim to being an actual prophet, in the real and literal sense of the word, was gradual. They assert that Ghulam Ahmad’s claim to real and literal prophesy occurred in 1901, when he published the book Eik Ghalati Ka Izala. In this book, Ghulam Ahmad begins with the following words:
ہماری جماعت میں سے بعض صاحب جو ہمارے دعوی اور دلائل سے کم واقفیت رکھتے ہیں جنکو نہ بغور کتابیں دیکھنے کا اتفاق ہؤا اور نہ وہ ایک معقول مدّت تک صحبت میں رہ کر اپنے معلومات کی تکمیل کرسکے۔ وہ بعض حالات میں مخالفین کے کسی اعتراض پر ایسا جواب دیتے ہیں کہ جو سراسر واقعہ کے خلاف ہوتا ہے۔ اس لۓ باوجود اہل حق ہونے کے انکو ندامت اٹھانی پڑتی ہے۔ چنانچہ چند روز ہوۓ ہیں کہ ایک صاحب پر ایک مخالف کی طرف سے یہ اعتراض پیش ہؤا کہ جس سے تم نے بیعت کی ہے وہ نبی اور رسول ہونے کا دعوی کرتا ہے۔ اور اس کا جواب محض انکار کے الفاظ سے دیا گیا حالانکہ ایسا جواب صحیح نہیں ہے۔
“Some members of my Jama’at, who are less familiar with my claim and its supporting arguments, and who have neither had the chance to study my books in depth, nor have they spent enough time in my company to be fully informed, sometimes counter an objection raised by an opponent with an answer which is entirely contrary to the facts. Thus, notwithstanding their adherence to the truth, they have to suffer embarrassment. Only a few days ago, one of them was confronted with an objection that the person to whom he had sworn allegiance claimed to be a Prophet and Messenger, and the reply given was a mere denial, which was not correct.” (Ruhani Khaza’in v.18 p.206; Eik Ghalati Ka Izala p.2)
Now the reader should note a couple of points. Firstly, Ghulam Ahmad has stated here that in order to appropriately understand his claim, the members of his community need to be well-versed in his books, to be properly acquainted with his claim and its supporting arguments. In other words, contrary to the Qadiyani argument, Ghulam Ahmad did not write this clarification in a vacuum. His claim had already been made and explained in his prior writings. He is not making a new claim in this text. Therefore, the idea that Ghulam Ahmad made a claim to prophesy in the real sense of the word beginning in 1901 with the publication of this book is manifestly false. Secondly, as I have already explained in detail in the previous nine articles of this series, the claim of Ghulam Ahmad is quite nuanced and needs to be understood in light of Sufi terminology and concepts. He has repeatedly written throughout his prior writings that Prophet Muhammad (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam) is absolutely the last and final prophet, that no new or old prophet may appear after him whatsoever, and that he is not a prophet in the real sense of the word.
Another critical point to note from this quotation is that Ghulam Ahmad has stated that those from his community who absolutely deny that he has claimed to be a prophet or apostle of God, without any clarification or qualification, are still “people of the truth”. Yes, they may suffer embarrassment when confronted by the opponents of Ghulam Ahmad, i.e., the bigoted mullas, in making such an unqualified denial without any clarification, as that will give the opponent an opportunity to cite a statement from the writings of Ghulam Ahmad, out of context of course, in which the latter appears to be making a claim to Nubuwwa. Hence, the real issue is avoiding having to face such embarrassment, not that making such an unqualified denial is misguidance from the truth. If Ghulam Ahmad really did claim to be a prophet in the real sense of the word, how could those who attribute themselves to him but make an absolute denial of that claim still be considered people of the truth? Because Ghulam Ahmad attributed prophesy to himself figuratively, in a sense that is in accordance with the concept ellucidated by the great Sufi mystics, to make an unqualified denial of him being a prophet cannot at all be considered misguidance from the truth, though it may lead to embarrassment during disputation with Ghulam Ahmad’s detractors if one does not clarify the reality of this figurative claim.
In fact, Ghulam Ahmad goes on to explain that by an unqualified denial he does not actually mean that a person says Ghulam Ahmad is not a prophet, but he means a statement in which someone says that the words ‘prophet’ and ‘apostle’ do not at all occur in the inspirations that Allah inspired him with:
حق یہ ہے کہ خدا تعالی کی وہ پاک وحی جو میرے پر نازل ہوتی ہے۔ اس میں ایسے الفاظ رسول اور مرسل اور نبی کے موجود ہیں نہ ایک دفعہ بلکہ صدہا دفعہ پھر کیونکر یہ جواب صحیح ہوسکتا ہے کہ ایسے الفاظ موجود نہیں ہیں۔
“The fact is that in the Divine revelation of which I am the recipient, words such as ‘Messenger’, ‘Apostle’ and ‘Prophet’, appear not once, but hundreds of times. How then can it be correct to say that such words have not at all been used?” (ibid):
 

1 comment:

  1. The Lahori party, who call themselves Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaate Islam, Lahore (AAIIL), although they are correct in understanding that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad never claimed to be a prophet in the real sense, have other problems, such as their false belief that Joseph the Carpenter is Jesus Christ's biological father. They are similar to the Ebionites, an early sect of Christianity, which maintained their Jewish heritage, observing the law of the Torah, but denied the virgin birth of Jesus. The religion of Islam contains perfect guidance in the matter, maintaining the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, while not deifying him as the pagan Christians do.

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