He it is Who has raised among the Unlettered people a Messenger from among themselves who recites unto them His Signs, and purifies them, and teaches them the Book and wisdom, although they had been, before, in manifest misguidance; And among others from among them who have not yet joined them. He is the Mighty, the Wise.
Looking throughout the history of the world we see that the tradition of Allah the Exalted has been such that whenever mischief and evil takes over the world and times such as ظَھَرَ الْفَسَادُ فِیْ الْبَرِّ وَ البَحْرِ arise i.e. when corruption spreads throughout the entire world, He sends His beloved prophets to dispel the darkness and save mankind from moral self-destruction and to guide mankind onto the straight path once again. Similar was the cry of the 19th century. Thus, in accordance with the tradition of Allah the Almighty as well as the many prophesies made some 1400 years ago and in fact even by prophets prior to the time of the prophet of Islam, Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), Allah the Exalted blessed that era to witness the birth and advent of that promised reformer, the Promised Messiah (may peace be upon him), Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian. He was born in 1835 in Qadian, a small village situated in the district of Punjab in India. He was born to a noble, land-owning family of Qadian. He received his education from various tutors who were not men of any great learning and the proficiency attained by him consisted merely in the reading of Persian and Arabic and in the ability to express himself fluently in the former and to a limited extent in the latter. His education went no further. He had, however, also studied a few books on medicine under the guidance of his father who was a skilful physician.
From his early childhood he was solely devoted to the worship of God, meditation and prayers. He was also known for his honesty, compassion and resolve. He was always engaged in the service for the cause of Islam, so much so that he was known as the “Champion of Islam” in the whole Sub-Continent and not just by friends and family, but also by great scholars and influential people of that time who later fiercely opposed his claims.
Commencement of the Flow of Divine Revelations
He received revelation from God from an early age, as well as visions and dreams. Having received Divine revelation regarding his blessed status in 1868,
“Thy God is well pleased with what thou hast done. He will bless thee greatly, so much so that Kings shall seek blessing from your garments.”
and having received revelation regarding Divine Succour at the demise of his father, Ghulam Murtaza Sahib in 1876,
“Is Allah not sufficient for His servant”
the flow of revelations and visions continued, gathering momentum, until in 1882 he received revelation which made manifest the design of God that he, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (peace be upon him), was to be the appointed one, the one commissioned by God to serve His cause. Part of the revelation received in 1882 was as follows:
“Allah has placed blessing on you, O Ahmad. Thou threwest not when thou didst throw, but it was Allah Who threw. Allah has taught you the Qur’an so that you should warn the people whose ancestors have not been warned, and that the way of the guilty ones might become manifest. Say: I have been commissioned and I am the first of the believers…”
It was not long before this prophecy came to be fulfilled. Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) had written the first part of his book Brahin-e-Ahmadiyya in 1880. The second part, published in 1882, included the above revelation relating to his appointment as the Promised Reformer of the age. Brahin-e-Ahmadiyya was a magnificent book and caused a stir in the scholarly circles and people started to come to see him from near and far and consisted of incontrovertible arguments in favour of Islam which answered all allegations raised against Islam. How greatly it was esteemed can be gauged by the writings of Muhammad Hussain sahib Batalvi, who later turned out to be one of the fiercest enemies of the Promised Messiah (as). He wasn’t just an ordinary man, he was acknowledged to be the chief of the Ahl-e-Hadeeth sect at that time. He was also the editor of a journal named “Isha’at-us-Sunnah” in which he wrote a review on this book and testified to the character and purity of the life of the Promised Messiah (as). He affirmed that his testimony was not based on hearsay, but on long, intimate and personal association with the Promised Messiah (as). He testified that this book and his services to Islam by pen and purse, by personal character and by speech and silence were without parallel throughout the entire history of Islam and challenged people that if it wasn’t so, to present at least one book which answered all objections of the enemies of Islam with the same energy and earnestness.
The First Bai’at (Pledge of Initiation)
In 1889 Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (peace be upon him) received Divine revelation to take the Bai’at (the Pledge of Initiation) in the following words:
“When thou hast determined, put thine trust in Allah. And build the Ark under Our eyes, as commanded by our revelation. Verily, those who swear allegiance to thee indeed swear allegiance to Allah. The hand of Allah is over their hand.”
Pursuant to this revelation Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (peace be upon him) wrote a Notice that was extensively publicised. The Divine call for Initiation was answered immediately by those who had already recognised in Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (peace be upon him) the Divine light and they hastened to him to be initiated at his hand. The first Initiation ceremony took place in Ludhiana on 23rd March, 1889. Hadhrat Maulvi Nur-ud-Din Sahib (ra), as was his wish, became the first of 40 persons that day to be initiated at his hand.
Jesus (peace be upon him) Died a Natural Death
The entire Muslim Ummah was, and to a large extent still is, awaiting the advent of a promised reformer. It was in 1891 that Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (peace be upon him), after receiving recurring revelation regarding this matter, announced and claimed that Jesus of Nazareth (peace be upon him), in whose second advent both the Muslims and Christians believed, had died a natural death. He further claimed that the second coming of Jesus (peace be upon him) was to be understood metaphorically and that a person in the spirit of Jesus (peace be upon him) was to appear in the latter days, not the same Jesus of Nazareth, who had in fact died a natural death almost 2000 years ago. This was in similitude to the prophecy regarding the second advent of Elijah, which was fulfilled in the person of John the Baptist.
The Annual Conference
Later that year, on 27th December 1891, the foundation of a grand spiritual convention was laid by the Promised Messiah (peace be upon him) through Divine command and guidance, known as “Jalsa Salana”. The Promised Messiah (peace be upon him) had called members of the Community to Qadian for consultation, responding to the call 75 loyal elders of the Community immediately made their way to assemble in Qadian. These were the fortunate ones to be the pioneers of this convention. Once this historical convention had concluded, the Promised Messiah (peace be upon him) published an announcement that this convention should be held annually on the 27th, 28th and 29th of December. The purpose of this gathering was members of the Community, as well as others, to meet and form a strong brotherhood, to attain righteousness and self-purification as well as to attain love for the Almighty and create an unbreakable bond.
The historical Jalsa, which a mere 75 members attended, carried such blessings with it that by the last Jalsa during the time of the Promised Messiah (peace be upon him) in 1907 more than two thousand humble members attended this blessed convention.
The Jalsa, which had its humble beginning in a small town in India, has now spread over many countries and nations. The Jalsa, which was attended by 75 pure souls 123 years ago, is now being attended annually in various parts of the world, some of which have more than 30,000 attendees.
Lunar and Solar Eclipses – A Heavenly Sign
Divine Succour and Divine Blessings shown at the hands of the Promised Messiah (peace be upon him) continue throughout his life. The uproar by his opponents against his claims was increasing by the day, but God was yet to reveal another sign of the truthfulness of his beloved Messiah (peace be upon him), a sign which was free of human interference, a heavenly sign. According to the prophecy of his beloved master, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that
“For Our Mahdi there are two Signs which have never appeared before since the creation of the heavens and the earth, namely, the moon will be eclipsed on the first night in Ramadhan (i.e. on the first of the nights on which a lunar eclipse can occur) and the sun will be eclipsed on the middle day (i.e.; on the middle one of the days on which a solar eclipse can occur), and these Signs have not appeared since God created the heavens and the earth.”
This phenomenon took place exactly as it had been foretold during the month of Ramadhan in 1894. The eclipses were repeated in the following year in the western hemisphere, thus presenting it as a sign not just for one part, but for the whole world to see.
Conference of Great Religions
In the month of December, 1896 the Conference of Great Religions was held, which yet again manifested the mission he was sent with and its fulfilment, the revival of Islam. Learned representatives of various religious communities were invited to set forth the excellences of their respective faiths so that the merits of the true religion be espoused in a gathering of cultured people and that its love be instilled in their hearts and that they become well acquainted with its arguments and proofs. Each speaker was required to address the five questions published in advance and each speaker was required to confine his answer to the holy book of his religion, without criticising the other. The lecture was written by the Promised Messiah (peace be upon him), but due to his health condition he appointed his humble follower, Maulvi Abdul Karim Sialkoti Sahib, who was most eloquent in speech, to deliver the lecture. Every person, regardless of religion, was in awe by the lecture and could not help but show his appreciation and approbation. What better proof of the lecture´s excellence than the fact that even though only two hours had been allotted for the lecture, the audience with one voice desired for the lecture to be continued and finished, for which the conference had to be extended by another day. Instead of two hours, the lecture was delivered over a total period of seven and a half.
The Promised Messiah (peace be upon him) had received Divine revelation a few days prior to the Conference regarding the success of the lecture. It was revealed to him that his lecture would surpass all other papers, and so it was. Those who attended the conference were unanimous in attesting that his lecture truly was superior to all others. This lecture has been published in the form of a book and is known as “The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam”.
The Promised Messiah (peace be upon him) was a true lover of the founder of Islam, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). As per his mission, the revival of Islam, he had dedicated his life solely for this purpose. He made magnificent contributions towards the revival of faith. He wrote more than 90 books in which he repeatedly presented the true and beautiful teachings of Islam once again and presented such incontrovertible arguments in favour of Islam against all allegations raised by its enemies, may it be Christians, Hindus, Sikhs Atheists and so on, which left them all dumbfounded.
He destroyed the false and prevalent doctrines of Christianity and their belief of Atonement by revealing that Jesus did not die on the cross, he revealed truths such as Hadhrat Guru Baba Nanak sahib accepting Islam, he refuted the Aryas and their belief of Wahdat-ul-Wujud i.e. believing everything to be God and presented astonishing speeches and debates especially on the Conference of Great Religions. But one of the greatest aspects of his claims was that he challenged his opponents to refute his claims again and again and even promised huge amounts as reward on doing so, but no one has been able to do so until this day.
Looking at every aspect of his life and looking at his services for the cause of Islam we find evident proof that it was he who was sent as the Messiah and Mahdi in order to revive faith in the latter days, but one thing should always be remembered that the Promised Messiah (as) only came to sow the seed, which would then flourish after him through his Khulafa and so it is as we can all see today. A community which started with a mere handful of members, now exceeds tens of millions worldwide.