Clarification of Correction of an Error
| Translators Note:
It is asserted by some that in his pamphlet entitled
Ayk Ghalati Ka Izala (Correction of an Error),
published in November 1901, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad announced
that he was indeed a prophet and that his previous denials of making
such a claim were in error and should now be disregarded. Historically,
it so happened that when Correction of an Error was published,
one or two opponents of Hazrat Mirza accused him of claiming to
be a prophet in this booklet. However, as shown in this Section,
he and his followers denied this allegation forthwith. Therefore
the issue of whether he claimed to be a prophet in this booklet
was settled very clearly at the very time of its publication.
10.1: Letter by Sayyid Muhammad Ahsan of Amroha
A few days after the publication of Ayk Ghalati Ka Izala in November
1901, Maulana Sayyid Muhammad Ahsan of Amroha, one of the two most prominent
followers of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, received a letter from one Hafiz
Muhammad Yusuf, belonging to the city of Amritsar, alleging that Hazrat
Mirza had claimed to be a prophet in this pamphlet. When this letter was
brought to the attention of Hazrat Mirza, he directed Maulana Sayyid Muhammad
Ahsan as follows:
This letter should be answered in detail so that our beliefs
are conveyed to him.
In obedience to this instruction, the Maulana wrote a letter to Hafiz
Muhammad Yusuf which was also published in the Ahmadiyya communitys
paper Al-Hakam. The editor added the following introductory note:
(Newspaper Al-Hakam, 30 November 1901, p. 2)
Below we reproduce an invaluable letter by Maulana Sayyid
Muhammad Ahsan of Amroha which, although written by him as a reply
to a postcard from Muhammad Yusuf of Amritsar, is in fact a subtle
exposition of that pamphlet which Hazrat Aqdas [Hazrat Mirza]
published under the title Ayk Ghalati Ka Izala. The points
of truth and knowledge contained in this letter need no advertisement
from us the name scholar of Amroha is sufficient.
But we would say that in this letter the scholarly gentleman is speaking
with support of the Holy Spirit. ...
The letter, published under the title Raqimat al-Wudud, is as follows:
(Al-Hakam, 24 November 1901, p. 9)
Sir, the pamphlet with reference to which you say that Mirza
sahib has claimed prophethood in it, that very pamphlet contains the
following texts in which this claim is clearly and explicitly denied.
It is to be regretted that you neither understood the claim itself
nor the denial. The texts are as follows:
O Mr. Hafiz, if you have any fear of God in you, can you say of
a man whose writing in a 3-page poster so frequently denies a claim
to independent prophethood, that he is a claimant to independent prophethood?
Or, can any sensible person say that this fana fir-rasul has
claimed that prophethood and apostleship which is denied by the consensus
of opinion of the entire Muslim nation? Both you and I are nearing the
end of our lives. How, then, can you be so bold as to make this accusation?
- There certainly cannot come any prophet, new or old.
- Such a belief [i.e., in the continuity of wahy
nubuwwat, the revelation which distinguishes a prophet from
a non-prophet] is undoubtedly a sin, and the verse he is
the Messenger of God and the Khatam an-nabiyyin along with
the hadith there is to be no prophet after me is conclusive
proof of the absolute falsity of this view.
- I am strongly opposed to such beliefs.
Look how strong is the denial.
- I have true and full faith in this statement.
That is, the Seal of the Prophets verse.
- After the Holy Prophet Muhammad, the doors of prophecies
have been closed till the Day of Judgment. ... But one window, that
of the path of Siddiq, is open. That is to say, the window of self-effacement
in the Holy Prophet (fana fir-rasul).
I.e., perfect successorship to the Holy Prophet, which is known
in other words as burooz [manifestation].
- It is not possible now for a Hindu or a Jew or a Christian
or a nominal Muslim to apply the word nabi to himself.
That is, without reaching the station of fana fir-rasul.
- All the windows of prophethood have been closed.
That is, without becoming fana fir-rasul.
- There is no way to the graces of God except through
the Holy Prophets mediation.
- After our Holy Prophet Muhammad till the Day of Judgment,
there is no prophet to whom a new shariah is to be revealed.
Look, in this extract it is denied that a law-bearing prophet will
ever come after the Holy Prophet.
- And whoever makes a claim of prophethood bearing a new
law commits heresy.
- I am not the independent bearer of a shariah.
Mr. Hafiz, open your eyes to read this!
- Nor am I an independent prophet.
Mr. Hafiz, read this sentence for Gods sake!
- I am not a bearer of law.
Read this with fear of God!
- All these graces have not been bestowed upon me without
mediation, rather, there is a holy being in heaven, namely, Muhammad
mustafa, whose spiritual benefit I receive.
- In other words, the term Khatam an-nabiyyin is a Divine
seal which has been put upon the prophethood of the Holy Prophet.
It is not possible now that this seal could ever break.
Look how strong is this denial.
- A seal has been put upon prophethood till the Day of
See how often this denial is repeated in a 3-page poster.
- Ignorant opponents raise the allegation against me that
I claim to be a nabi [prophet] or rasul [messenger].
I make no such claim.
Mr. Hafiz, it is the height of ignorance to level this charge after
all these denials.
- I am neither a prophet nor an apostle in the sense which
they have in mind.
- Hence the person who maliciously accuses me of claiming
prophethood and apostleship is a liar and an evil-minded one.
10.2: A second recorded incident
In Al-Hakam of 31 May 1902 a letter was published from a member
of the Ahmadiyya community, one Shah Deen, railway stationmaster at Mardan
(District Peshawar), in which he gave an account of an argument and debate
with an opponent. It read:
Afterwards, Husain Bakhsh, who is familiar with the history
of Hazrat Mirza, asked me if he had advanced a new claim. I told him
that there was no new claim. The claims were the same as in the beginning.
He said that he had heard that, in a recent poster, a claim to prophethood
had clearly been made. I told him that he could see the poster, which
did not contain anything of the sort. Therefore, upon his request,
Mian Muhammad Yusuf brought the poster entitled Ayk Ghalati Ka
Izala from his home and read it out seriously and thoughtfully,
which made a deep impression upon the audience. He could not understand
the issue of burooz. Sometimes he would call it re-incarnation,
and sometimes he would say that Mirza sahib will in future lay claim
to divinity, as Shams Tabriz and Mansur had done. I tried my best
to make him understand this point, and quoted parallels from the lives
of Hazrat Mujaddid of Sirhind and Sayyid Ahmad Barelvi, etc.
10.3: Meaning of muhaddas in
Correction of an Error
Referring to the word muhaddas and its verbal noun tahdees,
Hazrat Mirza has written in this pamphlet:
I say that in no lexicon does the word tahdees convey
the meaning of disclosing the unseen.
In Tauzih Maram, published 1891, he had written:
The muhaddas ... has the honour of being spoken to
by God. Matters of the unseen are disclosed to him. His revelation,
like that of prophets and messengers, is protected from the interference
of the devil. The real essence of the Shariah is disclosed to
him. He is appointed just like the prophets, and, like them, it is
his duty to proclaim himself openly. His denier is, to some extent,
liable to Divine punishment.
There is no contradiction in the above two passages. In the first, he
is referring to the literal or root meaning of muhaddas.
In terms of its root meaning as a word of the Arabic language, it does
not convey the significance of news of the unseen being revealed,
but merely news of something. In the passage from Tauzih Maram,
he is explaining the technical meaning of muhaddas from
Hadith and Islamic Shariah, which is that of a person spoken
to by God, though not being a prophet. To the end of his life, Hazrat
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad claimed to be a muhaddas in terms of this technical
meaning, and no more. In this pamphlet, he has not denied being
just a muhaddas, but has only stated that the root
sense of muhaddas is not sufficient to convey his status.
About the year 1914, when Maulana Nur-ud-Din was head of the Ahmadiyya
Movement, some non-Ahmadis raised this particular objection. At this,
one Hafiz Raushan Ali, a well-known scholar in the Ahmadiyya Movement,
wrote a reply which was much liked by Maulana Nur-ud-Din and published
in the magazine Tashhiz al-Azhan. Given below is the relevant extract
from that magazine:
Objection: In Tauzih Maram you call yourself a muhaddas
and say that a muhaddas too is a prophet in one sense. But
now in this poster you write that my title cannot be muhaddas
because in no lexicon does the word tahdees convey the meaning
of disclosing the unseen.
This magazine was edited by Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad, and the
issue cited above dates from a few months after the split in the
Ahmadiyya Movement, when he had become head of the Qadian Section.
Answer: We say that there could only have been a contradiction
between these two places if there was an affirmation of being a muhaddas
in a certain sense, and then a denial made with regard to the same
sense. But here the senses in the two places are different. Therefore,
in accordance with the principle, lau l-al-itibaraat la-batal-al-hikma,
your alleged contradiction disappears. In the poster [Correction
of an Error], he has made the denial in the sense that in Arabic
lexicology the meaning of tahdees is not that of disclosing
the unseen. And in Tauzih Maram he has made the affirmation
in terms of the technical meaning, despite having made it explicit
there that a muhaddas is also a prophet in a sense.
(Tashhiz al-Azhan, October 1914, vol. ix, no. 10)