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South Africa court case (1982-1985)

Contents of the Evidence

Supplement to Section 9.5: Ummati wa Nabi Follower and Prophet
5. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
6. Non-English material

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Supplement to the Evidence
Section 9.5:
Ummati wa Nabi — Follower and Prophet

Further to the references given in Section 9.5 from the writings of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, showing that he defined this term as being synonymous with saint, we deal with this point in more detail here. According to Hazrat Mirza, the terms ‘follower’ (ummati) and ‘prophet’ or ‘messenger’ (nabi, rasul) are opposite in meaning, and therefore, properly speaking, no person can be both a follower and a prophet. Hazrat Mirza defines an ummati as below:

“An ummati is he who, without following the Holy Prophet Muhammad and the Holy Quran, was merely deficient, misguided and faithless. And then by following the Holy Prophet he attained faith and perfection.” (Barahin Ahmadiyya Part V, pp. 192–193)

On the other hand, a prophet or messenger learns faith directly from God through revelation:

“According to the explanation of the Holy Quran, rasul is he who receives the commandments and beliefs of the faith through the angel Gabriel.” (Izala Auham, p. 534)

Hazrat Mirza explains clearly that ummati and rasul (or nabi) have opposite meanings:

  1. “The possessor of full prophethood can never be a follower (ummati), and it is absolutely prohibited by the Quran and Hadith that the man who is called messenger (rasul) of God in the fullest sense could be a complete sub-ordinate and disciple of another prophet. Almighty God says [in the Holy Quran]: ‘We did not send any messenger but that he should be obeyed by God’s permission.’ That is, every messenger is sent to be a master and leader, not to be a disciple and sub-ordinate of someone else.” (Izala Auham, p. 569)
  2. “No messenger comes into the world as a disciple and sub-ordinate. Rather, he is a leader, and follows only his revelation which descends on him through angel Gabriel.” (ibid., p. 576)
  3. “The meanings of rasul [messenger] and ummati [follower] are opposite to each other.” (ibid., p. 575)
  4. “These two concepts [discipleship and prophethood] are opposite to each other.” (Review Mubahasa, p. 8)

Hazrat Mirza has used the expressions “follower and prophet” and “a prophet from one aspect and a follower from another”, and he has clearly explained the significance of these terms:

  1. “A muhaddas, who is a ‘sent one’, is a follower and also, in an imperfect sense, a prophet. He is a follower because he fully follows the Shari‘ah of the Holy Prophet Muhammad and receives benefit from the light of his [the Holy Prophet’s] prophethood. And he is a prophet because God makes his affairs like those of prophets. God has made the position of muhaddas as an intermediate one between prophets and followers. Although he is a follower in the fullest sense, he is also a prophet in one sense. And a muhaddas must be the like of some prophet, and receive from God the very name which is the name of that prophet.” (Izala Auham, p. 569)
  2. “So the fact that he [the Messiah to come] has been called a follower [of the Holy Prophet Muhammad] as well as a prophet indicates that the qualities of both discipleship and prophethood will be found in him, as it is essential for both of these to be found in a muhaddas. The possessor of full prophethood, however, has only the quality of prophethood. To conclude, sainthood (muhaddasiyyat) is coloured with both colours. For this reason, in [the Divine revelations published in] Barahin Ahmadiyya too, God named this humble one as follower and as prophet.” (Izala Auham, p. 533)

This proves conclusively that by the term “follower and prophet” in the writings of Hazrat Mirza is meant a muhaddas, who is really a follower but has some characteristics in common with prophets. It does not mean a prophet, as Hazrat Mirza has clearly explained above.

‘Follower and prophet’ — a composite term

It may be noted that ‘follower and prophet’ is a composite term. One cannot refer to just the ‘prophet’ part of it, and take it as denoting a type of prophet. Hazrat Mirza writes that such a follower “cannot be just called prophet”:

  1. “I cannot be called only ‘prophet’, but a prophet from one aspect and a follower from another.” (Haqiqat al-Wahy, footnote, p. 150)
  2. “There is no need now to follow each prophet or Book separately that came before the Holy Quran because the Prophethood of Muhammad comprises and comprehends them all. ... All truths that take man to God are to be found in it, no new truth shall come after it, nor is there any previous truth which is not in it. Hence, upon this Prophethood [of Muhammad] end all prophethoods. ... Rendering obedience to this Prophethood takes one to God very easily, and one receives the gift of God’s love and His revelation in a much greater measure than people used to before [the time of the Holy Prophet Muhammad]. However, its perfect follower cannot be just called ‘prophet’ because it would be derogatory to the perfect and complete prophethood of Holy Prophet Muhammad. But both the words ummati [follower of the Holy Prophet] and nabi [prophet] can jointly be applied to him, because that would not be derogatory to the prophethood of the Holy Prophet Muhammad.” (Al-Wasiyyat, pp. 27 – 8)

In his writings, Hazrat Mirza has nowhere used the term ummati nabi (follower-prophet), which could possibly have implied the significance of a prophet among the Muslims, i.e. a type of prophet. He has always used expressions like ‘follower and prophet’ after having clearly elaborated and defined this concept as characterising a muhaddas.

‘Follower and prophet’ applies to many saints

According to Hazrat Mirza, it is not only him but many saints in Islam who attained the title ‘prophet and follower’. He writes:
  1. “Islam is the only religion in the world having the virtue that, provided the truest and fullest obedience is rendered to our Leader and Master the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and the blessings of God be upon him, one can have the privilege of Divine revelation. For this reason it is recorded in Hadith: Ulama ummati ka-anbiya Bani Israil, that is, ‘the spiritual savants from among my followers are like the prophets of Israel’. In this Saying too, the godly savants are on the one hand called followers, and on the other hand they are called the likes of prophets.” (Supplement to Barahin Ahmadiyya Part V, pp. 182 – 184)
  2. “God bestowed the honour of His full, perfect, pure and holy, communication and revelation to some such persons as had reached the stage of fana fir-rasul to the highest degree, so that there remained no separation. The concept of ummati and the meaning of following was found in them to completion and perfection, so that their very being did not remain their own selves, but rather, the person of the Holy Prophet Muhammad was reflected in the mirror of their state of engrossment. On the other hand, they received Divine communication and revelation in the fullest and most perfect sense like prophets. So in this way, some persons, despite being ummati [followers], received the title of nabi [prophet].” (Al-Wasiyyat, pp. 29–30)

Go to The Evidence, Section 9.5
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