Greatness of the Companions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad
In the opinion of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
Friday Khutba by Dr Zahid Aziz, for Lahore Ahmadiyya UK, 28 October 2022
“And the foremost, the first of the Emigrants and the Helpers, and those who followed them in goodness — Allah is well pleased with them and they are well pleased with Him, and He has prepared for them Gardens in which rivers flow, abiding therein forever. That is the mighty achievement.” — ch. 9: Al-Barā’at, v. 100
وَ السّٰبِقُوۡنَ الۡاَوَّلُوۡنَ مِنَ الۡمُہٰجِرِیۡنَ وَ الۡاَنۡصَارِ وَ الَّذِیۡنَ اتَّبَعُوۡہُمۡ بِاِحۡسَانٍ ۙ رَّضِیَ اللّٰہُ عَنۡہُمۡ وَ رَضُوۡا عَنۡہُ وَ اَعَدَّ لَہُمۡ جَنّٰتٍ تَجۡرِیۡ تَحۡتَہَا الۡاَنۡہٰرُ خٰلِدِیۡنَ فِیۡہَاۤ اَبَدًا ؕ ذٰلِکَ الۡفَوۡزُ الۡعَظِیۡمُ ﴿۱۰۰﴾
“These are they into whose hearts He has impressed faith, and strengthened them with a Spirit from Himself, and He will make them enter Gardens in which rivers flow, abiding in them. Allah is well-pleased with them and they are well-pleased with Him. These are Allah’s party. Now surely it is Allah’s party who are the successful!” — ch. 58, Al-Mujādilah, v. 22
…اُولٰٓئِکَ کَتَبَ فِیۡ قُلُوۡبِہِمُ الۡاِیۡمَانَ وَ اَیَّدَہُمۡ بِرُوۡحٍ مِّنۡہُ ؕ وَ یُدۡخِلُہُمۡ جَنّٰتٍ تَجۡرِیۡ مِنۡ تَحۡتِہَا الۡاَنۡہٰرُ خٰلِدِیۡنَ فِیۡہَا ؕ رَضِیَ اللّٰہُ عَنۡہُمۡ وَ رَضُوۡا عَنۡہُ ؕ اُولٰٓئِکَ حِزۡبُ اللّٰہِ ؕ اَلَاۤ اِنَّ حِزۡبَ اللّٰہِ ہُمُ الۡمُفۡلِحُوۡنَ ﴿٪۲۲﴾
These verses are a description of the Companions of the Holy Prophet. The Emigrants, or muhājir, were those living at Makkah who had to migrate from there after accepting Islam because of the persecution they faced. The Helpers, or anṣār, were those who accepted Islam while living in Madinah and gave shelter to the Emigrants from Makkah. The “foremost” and “first” here may mean those Companions were those who had accepted Islam in the earliest times, and “those who followed them in goodness” may mean those who joined Islam later. Alternatively, the foremost and first may mean those among them who always led the way in making sacrifices for the cause of Islam, being ahead of all others, while those who followed them were those acted on their example. Allah says that He is pleased with the Companions and they are pleased with Him, and that He made faith to enter into their hearts and strengthened them spiritually. This strengthening means that in all their words and their deeds, which they did in Allah’s way, the help and support of Allah was behind them in what they said and did.
I have quoted these verses because recently I came across the false allegation against the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, that he claimed that he had come to take the place of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, and that he was like a superior Muhammad who has now come into the world. I would like to point out that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad actually believed that, let alone the Holy Prophet Muhammad, even the Companions of the Holy Prophet had such a high rank and status that it cannot be reached by anyone after them.
Hazrat Mirza sahib, shortly after claiming to be the Messiah who was promised to appear among the Muslims, wrote a book about his claim, Izala Auham. At one place in this book there is a section with the heading Our Beliefs, in Urdu Humara Mazhab (p. 137). His very basic and most fundamental beliefs are given in that section. It begins as follows: “The summary and gist of our religion is Lā ilāha ill-Allāh, Muḥammad-ur Rasūlu-llāh (‘There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah’).” After quoting the Kalimah, he declares that the beliefs he is writing down are those which he holds in this life and which he will hold till he leaves this world. The first belief he mentions is that the Holy Prophet Muhammad is the Khatam-un-nabiyyin and the best of all messengers. By Khatam-un-nabiyyin he means the last of the prophets. This is confirmed by him later in the same book where he translates this Arabic term of the Quran, Khatam-un-nabiyyin, into Urdu as ختم کرنے والا نبیوں کا or “the one who ended the prophets”. After translating this term into Urdu, he adds this: “This verse too is clearly arguing that after our Prophet, no messenger (rasūl) shall come into the world” (p. 614). This was one of his fundamental beliefs, a belief which he stuck to till he left the world.
In this declaration of his beliefs, he also writes: “No rank of spiritual honour, accomplishment or nearness to Allah can at all be attained by us without true and perfect obedience to our Holy Prophet. Whatever we receive, we receive it as a reflection from him (i.e., of his light) and through him. We also believe that, as regards those righteous and spiritually-perfect persons who reached the highest stages of spiritual progress through the privilege of being in the company of the Holy Prophet, if we attain some qualities like their qualities, that is also because we are only reflecting their qualities. In fact, they possessed certain virtues which we cannot possibly achieve.” What he means by reflecting the qualities of the Holy Prophet, or of his Companions, is that they were the original sources of light, like the sun or a lamp. The people coming after them, like the saints of Islam and the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, are like mirrors who don’t have any light of their own but reflect the light that they receive. Anyhow, he has stated clearly here that as the Companions were in the company of the Holy Prophet, some of the qualities which they attained by direct contact with him cannot be attained by anyone of later times.
There are incidents from the life of the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement which show that he held the Companions of the Holy Prophet in such high honour that he was outraged if ever any of his followers suggested that he could be compared to the Companions. One of the most prominent and scholarly Ahmadis of his time was Maulvi Abdul Karim, who died during Hazrat Mirza sahib’s life. He related an incident in an article which he wrote in the Ahmadiyya newspaper Al-Hakam in 1899. He writes that followers of Hazrat Mirza sahib must not exaggerate his claims. He gave the example of the Christians: “What good did the Christians gain by exaggeratedly praising Jesus, that someone else following this path can expect to achieve it?” Then he relates the following incident:
“I remember once one of our friends, who is deeply engrossed in the love of the Imam [Hazrat Mirza sahib], said to him: Why should we not consider you to be superior to the Shaikhain [i.e., Hazrat Abu Bakr and Umar], and nearest to the Holy Prophet? My God! Hearing this, the holy Hazrat’s face changed colour, and he appeared to be entirely overcome by severe agitatation and restlessness. I swear by God that this increased my faith in the holy Hazrat even more. He gave a comprehensive talk lasting six full hours … All the time he dwelt on the praises and virtues granted to the Holy Prophet, and on his own dedication and servitude to the Holy Prophet, and on the qualities of the Shaikhain. He said: ‘It is a sufficient matter of pride for me that I am an admirer and servant of those people. The particular excellence which God granted them [i.e., the Companions], no one else will ever attain till the Day of Judgment. Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, may peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him, cannot come back into the world to give anyone the same opportunity to serve him as the Shaikhain had.” (Malfuzat, v. 1, p. 326; Al-Hakam, 17 August 1899, p. 4–5)
This prominent Ahmadi, Maulvi Abdul Karim, writes that when he heard this powerful speech by Hazrat Mirza sahib, honouring the Companions of the Holy Prophet as being so far above himelf, his faith in Hazrat Mirza sahib became stronger. This is because true faith in someone becomes stronger when he puts reality about himself in front of you. Some people like to hear exaggerated praises about their religious leaders and they think it strengthens their faith to know how great and incomparable they are. But that kind of faith is not based on reality and it is a fantasy which doesn’t do you any good.
There is another incident reported from about a year before the death of Hazrat Mirza sahib in the same Ahmadiyya newspaper, Al-Hakam. Just at that time he had written and published his very large book entitled Haqiqat-ul-Wahy. A man said to him: “As you, sir, have laboured very hard in writing the book Haqiqat-ul-Wahy and proof-reading it again and again, this is why you are falling ill again and again. You should have complete rest now for a few days and avoid any reading or writing work altogether.” Hazrat Mirza sahib said in reply: “My labour is nothing. I feel ashamed when I look at the labours of the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, as to how they cheerfully gave even their lives in the cause of God.”
He also stated in a talk that “the Holy Prophet Muhammad, with his spiritual power, created a group of totally devoted and sincere followers. … Their status was so elevated that it cannot be fully described in words”. He says that no other prophet was granted such a group of loyal and self-sacrificing followers: “He created a group so exalted [in morals and character] that I claim that no one, from the time of Adam till the end of the world, had followers of such high level.” (Malfuzat,, v. 8, p. 292–293)
Hazrat Mirza sahib wrote a book in Arabic entitled Sirr-ul-Khilafah, to prove that the first four Khalifas of Islam were righteous persons and truly deserving of being his successors, and that Hazrat Abu Bakr was the greatest of all the Companions. In this book he has written about Hazrat Abu Bakr: “By God! He was the second Adam of Islam and the first manifestation of the light of the Holy Prophet. He was not a prophet, but in him were found the powers of the messengers. … He was like the reflection of our Messenger and Master, the Holy Prophet, in all his character, and he had a connection with him from eternity” (Ruhank Khaza’in, v. 8, p. 336 and 356).
In the same book he has written a poem at the end, consisting of 18 verses in praise of the Companions, mentioning their qualities and their sacrifices for the cause of Islam. One of the verses near the end is as follows:
یَا رَبِّ فَارْحَمْنَا بِصَحْبِ نَبِیِّنَا وَاغْفِرْ وَ اَنْتَ اللّٰہُ ذُوْ اٰلَاءِ
“O our Lord, for the sake of the Companions of our Prophet, have mercy on us, And forgive us, O Allah the Bestower of favours!”
We may conclude with this same prayer — ameen.