Prophecies revealed to saints of Islam
Friday Khutba by Dr Zahid Aziz, for Lahore Ahmadiyya UK, 3 March 2023
“Now surely the friends of Allah, they have no fear nor do they grieve — those who believe and keep their duty. For them is good news in this world’s life and in the Hereafter. There is no changing the words of Allah. That is the mighty achievement.” — ch. 10, v. 62–64
اَلَاۤ اِنَّ اَوۡلِیَآءَ اللّٰہِ لَا خَوۡفٌ عَلَیۡہِمۡ وَ لَا ہُمۡ یَحۡزَنُوۡنَ ﴿ۚ۶۲﴾ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَ کَانُوۡا یَتَّقُوۡنَ ﴿ؕ۶۳﴾ لَہُمُ الۡبُشۡرٰی فِی الۡحَیٰوۃِ الدُّنۡیَا وَ فِی الۡاٰخِرَۃِ ؕ لَا تَبۡدِیۡلَ لِکَلِمٰتِ اللّٰہِ ؕ ذٰلِکَ ہُوَ الۡفَوۡزُ الۡعَظِیۡمُ ﴿ؕ۶۴﴾
These verses mention the auliya of Allah, literally “the friends of Allah”. By this are meant those who help the prophets of Allah in their mission, and like the prophets themselves these followers of the prophets also call people to follow the prophets and their teachings. The auliya of Allah are called in English as the saints of Islam. One translator of the Quran (Muhammad Asad) writes that it means those who are close to Allah. These are persons who reach the highest spiritual stage. This stage is described several times in the Quran as the stage at which “they have no fear nor do they grieve”. They have no fear of what the future will bring for them, and no grief about what happened to them in the past.
It is said about them here: “For them is good news in this world’s life and in the Hereafter”. The word for “good news” here is bushrā. These “good news” include the news of the future which God discloses to them. According to the classical commentary of the Quran by Ibn Kathir, a Companion asked the Holy Prophet: “We know the good news of the Hereafter, it is Paradise. But what is the good news in this world?” The Holy Prophet replied: “It is the true dream which the servant of Allah sees. It is one part of the forty-four parts of prophethood.” The Holy Prophet’s statement here is also in Sahih Bukhari, although it is not presented as an answer to a question. In that version the Holy Prophet says: “The true dream of a believer is a part of the forty-six parts of prophethood”. He is also reported in Bukhari as saying: “Nothing remains of prophethood but mubashshirāt”, and when asked, “What are mubashshirāt?”, he replied: “The true dreams”. (See hadith 6987 to 6990.) This word mubashshirāt is really the same as the bushrā in the verse of the Quran that I read above.
What these verses of the Quran and these hadith reports show is that, while prophethood ended with the Holy Prophet Muhammad, but one aspect of it, which is having dreams or revelations containing news of the future, continues among the highest-ranking Muslim believers. The Holy Prophet himself said to his followers: “In the nations who were before you, there used to be persons that God spoke to, though they were not prophets. If there is such a one among my people, it is Umar” (Bukhari, hadith 3689). He meant to convey that, just because he is the Last Prophet and no prophet can come after him, this does not mean that God will no longer speak to any human being after him. God used to speak, through dreams, visions and revelations, to people who were not prophets, in the nations before the Holy Prophet came into the world. For example, we read in the Quran in the story of the prophet Joseph that the king of Egypt, the country in which he was living, had a true dream which no one could interpret. Then Joseph was called to interpret it for the king, and his interpretation showed that the dream was about the future of the country.
The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, laid particular stress on this continuing of revelation from Allah, and presented his own example of revelations about the future. Many of his revelations relate to the future of the Muslims.
In his time the Muslims were suffering the worst downfall in their history. They had lost their political rule in most of their countries to various European nations. Where they did still have their own governments, these were weak and dependent on the European powers. But, much worse than this, in every field of life, be it education, business, the professions, intellectual development, organisation of society, etc. they were vastly behind other nations. In the religious field, they were unable to deal with, and reply to, the criticism against Islam which was coming from many quarters, such as Christian missionaries, modern Hindu movements, and modern philosophies and sciences. The reason was that the Muslim Ulama did not study anything outside the traditional Muslim religious studies, which hadn’t changed for more than 500 years. In terms of moral character and behaviour, Muslims had become complete strangers to the teachings of the Quran and the noble example of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, and now they lacked the qualities of humanity, justice, and honesty. They had fallen down to the depths of greed and selfishness. The modern world began to think that the culture and religion of Muslims would soon vanish from the earth because of having become obsolete and out of date.
It was against this background that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad received a revelation in the Persian language which said: “Rejoice that you shall see that time very soon, when the Muslims have been firmly established on a lofty tower”. In this revelation the word used for “Muslim” is محمدیاں . In those days, the term used by Western writers for “Muslims” was “Muhammadans”; in fact, it was used perhaps up to fifty years ago. This revelation disclosed to Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad that the people now known as “Muhammadans”, which really had become a derogatory term, would be raised high in the world. He himself, explaining this revelation, wrote that they would be taken out of the deep pit into which they had fallen and set their feet on a high and mighty tower. His words are: محمدی گڑھے میں سے نکال لئے جاوینگے اور ایک بلند اور مضبوط مینار پر اُنکا قدم پڑیگا (Nuzul-ul-Masih, p. 133). This revelation dates from the 1880s. A hundred years or so after that, Muslim countries had all become independent and many of them are now formidable economic and military powers in the world. This state of affairs was absolutely unimaginable at the time of this revelation and for many decades afterwards. Of course, morally there might not have been much of an improvement among Muslims in terms of the qualities of truth, justice and honesty, but still we see that many of the old social evils and wrong customs are less prevalent now than before.
Again, when Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad appeared no one could imagine that Islam would make any progress in the West. The situation was the opposite of this. How could Islam be acceptable in the West which dominated the world with its most advanced civilization, based on Christianity and science, while Muslims were considered to be following a faith based on ignorance? How could the mighty European rulers ruling over Muslims take spiritual guidance from them? But there was a prophecy of the Holy Prophet Muhammad relating to the distant future that the sun would rise from the west. Of course, Muslims took it literally to mean that when the end of the world approaches and the normal course of nature is disturbed and overturned, then the sun will start rising from the west. But Allah revealed to Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad a different meaning of this occurrence. He wrote in a book, Izala Auham published in the year 1891: “what has been shown to me in a vision is this — that the rising of the sun from the west signifies that the Western world which has been involved of old in the darkness of unbelief and error shall be made to shine with the sun of Truth, and those people shall have their share of Islam. … In reality, the Western countries have, up to this time, shown very little aptitude for religious truths, as if spiritual wisdom had in its entirety been granted to Asia, and material wisdom to Europe and America ... now Almighty God intends to cast on them (i.e., the people of the West) the look of mercy” (p. 515–516).
He also wrote in the same book, Izala Auham: “so far as it lies in my power I intend to broadcast, in all the countries of Europe and Asia, the knowledge and blessings which the Holy Spirit of God has granted me. … It is undoubtedly true that Europe and America have a large collection of objections against Islam, indoctrinated through those engaged in [Christian] Mission work, and that their philosophy and natural sciences give rise to another sort of criticism. ... To meet these objections, a chosen man is needed who should have a river of knowledge flowing in his vast breast and whose knowledge should have been specially broadened and deepened by Divine inspiration” (p. 771–772). He is referring to himself here.
We obviously cannot claim that this prophecy of the spread of Islam in the West has been entirely fulfilled. However, the beginning of its fulfilment came when Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din opened the Woking Muslim Mission at the Mosque in Woking, Surrey, in 1913, five years after the death of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Many notable persons of Britain accepted Islam through that Mission, and there were others who were already inwardly Muslims but had not declared it openly until they were encouraged by the work of this mission. Others who embraced Islam, indirectly by the work of the Woking Muslim Mission, or not through its work but by other channels, also come under the fulfilment of the prophecy by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad that “those people (i.e., people of the West) shall have their share of Islam”. But as he has indicated in the above writing, this spread of Islam can only take place through answering the objections and doubts of people about Islam. That is the work to which he totally devoted himself and he produced followers who were totally devoted to this task. That success of Islam in the West can only come about by the kind of knowledge of Islam which he was blessed with, as he says above, and its presentation by his followers such as Maulana Muhammad Ali. It cannot come about if Muslims themselves portray Islam as an extremist, fanatical, narrow-minded, rigid, intolerant and violent religion.
May Allah enable us to continue to work for the fulfilment of this vision, ameen.