by Dr M.Ikram Jahangiri
This post originally appeared in the April edition of the print magazine ‘The Hope’. It is an outline of a speech given by video link on the 27th December 2013 during the Annual Prayer Congregation of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Anjuman held in Lahore, Pakistan.
Today we are gathered to celebrate a year short of the centennial of the founding of the Lahore Jama‘at and affirm the message of the Promised Messiah, which was primarily the supremacy of Islam through the written word of Allah; that is, the Qur’an, and by the example of the pristine life of Prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), the Last of the Prophets.
Today, we are not to celebrate the birthday of our Jama‘at because each birthday only reduces the age of a person, whereas it is the 99th yearly milestone of a mission with headquarters in Lahore, which is eternal in its truth. Of note is that the Anjuman (organisation) was established in 1906, whereas it was relocated to Lahore in 1914.
What makes the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sas) unique and the Final Prophet is the fundamental changes that had already happened at his time. The world of commerce had opened up, global communications had started to break through, the two great religions of the world – Judaism and Christianity – had enough chance for centuries to take out humanity from degradation and social chaos, the Persian and Roman Empires were then crumbling due to immorality and dysfunction, and the world was in a universal bondage where 90% of the population existed only to serve the 10% elite. The mission of the Holy Prophet (sas) was global and so were his audiences as well.
Similarly, even though Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib was one of the many Mujaddids that preceded him, what makes him unique among the Mujaddids before him was the same that distin- guishes the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sas) from the previous prophets.
The Dajjal (Anti-Christ of the Qur’an) had come into existence and had colonised the whole world in one way or the other. The Christian Church, the Anti-Christ (Dajjal), was at its prime with the Bible in one hand and the sword in another. English and other European languages were spoken far and wide. Land and sea routes were identified across the globe. Telephone, telegraph and print media were widespread. Global trade had been established. Reason had taken a predominant position in the thought and behaviour of nations. Forces of ‘Gog and Magog’ prophesied in the Bible and the Qur’an were already in conflict and were heading towards a course of collision by the World Wars, and the prophecies of the Qur’an were soon to pass. This was a time for a global Mujaddid and the advent of a Messiah to remove misconceptions about Islam and to spread it globally by a peaceful pen. That person was none other than Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, who accomplished his mission to ‘kill the swine’ and ‘break the cross’. No pulpit in the West, or for that matter in the world, of this religion or that, can stand against the reason and logic offered by the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement and his learned companions like Maulana Muhammad Ali and Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din in the exposition of the teachings of Islam. It was the former who later founded the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at Islam Lahore, commonly known as the Lahore Section of the Ahmadiyya Movement.
What makes a divinely-ordained person unique from the rest is that the teacher of such a person is none other than Allah Himself. As a follower of such a Divine, one has to seek the Divine intelligence and knowledge, whose fountainhead is God. In the case of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad we find that element of uniqueness quite evident, especially in his writings, which stand apart from any other contemporary writers presenting the beauties of the Qur’an and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sas).
Today, I am going to summarily touch upon two such sources based upon Hazrat Mirza’s teaching from the Qur’an, which, firstly, elaborates upon the extent of human capacity, and secondly, how one can expand that capacity and tap the human potential to its fullest.
The stages of the spiritual evolution of the human soul representing the human capacity, based upon the book delivered as a lecture, The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, and identified in Qur’an are:
- The ‘commanding self’ (ammarah): The animal within the man – low desires – the lowest stage in the spiritual growth of man. “And I do not hold myself to be free from weakness, for human nature is surely prone to enjoin evil, except on whom my Lord has mercy. My Lord is of course Protector (against sins), Ever Merciful” (12:53)
- The ‘self-accusing’ spirit (lawwama): The slightest departure from the path of rectitude rouses within the man’s conscience. “And I swear by the self-accusing spirit (at the doing of an evil deed…)” (75:2)
- The ‘inspired spirit’ (mulhima): The righteous within the human. It is through Divine inspiration, or revelation, that the soul is made perfect. “Then He revealed to it (the soul, the ways of) its evil and its righteousness” (91:8)
- The soul ‘at rest’ (mutmai’nna): Divine peace within – the highest stage of the spiritual develop- ment of man. (As for the person who has been blessed with a contented and peaceful mind He will say to him: “O you soul at peace” (89:27)
- The ‘pleased with God’ (raadiah) and pleasing to God (mardiyyah): Blissful. “Come back to your Lord well-pleased with Him and He well-pleased with you” (89:28)
- The ‘perfected’ soul (kaamilah): Perfected. “And the (human) soul and that (Mighty Lord) Who made it perfect” (91:7)
Hazrat Mirza Sahib, as a teacher of the Qur’an, further identifies the inherent essentials for spiritual upliftment. The essentials for the spiritual evolution of man are acquired by the active pursuit of morality: “Truly, success (in this life and in the Hereafter does) come to the believers, who turn (to God) in all humility in their prayer, and who keep aloof from all that is vain and idle, and who act con- scientiously for the sake of purity (and regularly pay the zakah), and who guard their private parts, except from their spouses, that is, those whom they justly and rightfully own in proper wedlock. In that case they are not to be blamed, but those who seek anything else (to satisfy their sexual desire) beyond this, it is they who are the transgressors. And who look after their trusts and their covenants, and who are strict in the observance of their prayers; it is they who are the real heirs, who will own Paradise where they shall abide forever” (23-11).
The stages of physical evolution of man are universal throughout the human race: “We create a human being from an extract of clay. Then We reduce him to a drop of sperm (and place him) in a safe depository. Then We form the sperm into a clot; then We develop the clot into a lump of flesh; then We fashion bones out of this lump of flesh, then We clothe the bones with flesh; thereafter We evolve him into another being. Blessed be Allah, the Best of Creators” (23:12-14).
Verses 23:12-14 essentially outline a working physical model to understand the spiritual framework outlined in verses 23:1-11. Both these sets of verses are spread across various stages of incremental progress, namely potentiality, inclination, seeding, stability, strengthening, shaping, fruition, and destination. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib identifies and elaborates on these stages in the said verses in a booklet, The Six Parallel Stages of Physical and Spiritual Perfection in the Light of the Holy Quran compiled by Imam Kalamazad Mohammed.
Let me quote what Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad himself says about the three stages of spiritual progress in the light of the Holy Qur’an:
The first question relates to the physical, moral and spiritual conditions of man. The Holy Qur’an observes this division by fixing three respective sources for this three-fold condition of man. In other words, it mentions three springs out of which these three conditions flow. The first of these in which the physical conditions of man take their birth is termed the nafs-i ‘ammarah, which signifies the uncontrollable spirit or the spirit prone to evil (12:53). Man’s nature is prone to evil and transgression at a certain stage in his development, and so long as he is devoid of high moral qualities, the evil nature is predominant in him. As soon as he frees himself from the control of animal passion and a transformation is worked in his soul from grossness to virtue, he then passes the physical stage and is a moral being.
The source of the moral conditions of man is called nafs-i lawwamah, or the self-accus- ing spirit (conscience) – (75:2). Lawwamah literally means one who reproves severely. It has been so called because it upbraids a man for the doing of an evil deed and strongly hates unbridled passions and bestial appetites. This tendency, on the other hand, is to generate noble qualities and a virtuous disposition. In this state the weakness of the flesh has the upper hand sometimes and then it stumbles and falls down. At this stage the soul is anxious to attain moral excellence and revolts against disobedience.
The third or the last stage in the onward movement of the soul is reached on attaining to the source of all spiritual qualities. The soul at this stage, in the words of the Qur’an, is called nafs-i mutma’innah or the soul at rest (89:28-30). At this stage the soul is freed from all weaknesses and frailties and is braced with spiritual strength. It is clear that such a soul finds its support only in its Lord. The love of God is its food and it drinks deep at this fountain of life and is therefore delivered from any kind of spiritual death.