CHAPTER 5: THE PUBLICATION OF ARBAIN

The confrontation with Pir Golarwi started in the year 1900 and dragged on till the publication of the book Tuhfa Golarwiyya in1902. For the sake of continuity, the entire affair involving Pir Golarwi was narrated with- out interruption till the year 1902. Thenarrative now returns back to the year 1900.

Publication of Arbain

In the year 1900, Hazrat Mirza resolved to publish forty proclamations in order to conclusively settle the matter of his claims with his opponents, and others who rejected his message. The plan was to publish these procla- mations at intervals of fifteen days, providedthat other events did not impede this undertaking. Since the intention was to publish forty such proclamations, this planned series of proclamations was appropriately titled Arbain (the word in Arabic for forty) by Hazrat Mirza.

The first such proclamation, titled Arbain Number One, was indeed in the format of a proclamation. But the subsequent proclamations were signif- icantly greater in length. In fact, they took on the form of veritable booklets. The time period between the publications of the successive booklets also progressively became longer. Eventually, only four such proclamations were published, and these were combined into a fairly extensive tome. Other pressing matters subsequently drew Hazrat Mirza’s attention, and he decidedthat the existing four publications would have to suffice for the series.

Arbain Number One

In Arbain Number One, published on July 23, 1900, Hazrat Mirza reit- erated his claim to be the Promised Messiah. He stated that he had been appointed by Allah so that he could “spread the truth in the world through extraordinary signs and pure teachings.” Addressing people of all faiths, he observed:

I do not have any enemy in the world. I love mankind like an affection- ate mother loves her children; in fact, even more. The only thing I detest are false beliefs that stifle the truth. It is incumbent upon me to be sympathetic towards mankind, and it is my principle to abhor false- hood, polytheism, tyranny, evil deeds, injustice, and immorality.

Hazrat Mirza then addressed the materially-inclined people of the world and stated:

The true motivation for my sympathy is that I have discovered a gold mine, and I have been informed about a bounteous treasure of jewels. Through good fortune, I have found a glittering and exceedingly price- less diamond in that mine. Its value is so immense that if I were to distribute its value among my fellow humans, all of them would become richer than the person who currently possesses the greatest amount of silver and gold in the entire world. What is this diamond? It is the True God; and to findGod means to recognize His Being, to pro- fess true faith in Him, to establish a relationship with Him that is based on genuine love, and to gain true blessings from Him. Having found this immeasurable wealth, it would be an act of extreme injustice if I were tokeep mankind deprived of this wealth.

Next, Hazrat Mirza mentioned those true signs that were granted to him by God in this era:

Where is the Christian clergy now that said, God forbid, no true prophecy or miraculous event can be attributed to ProphetMuhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)? I say with all honesty that of all the people who have passed away, Prophet Muhammad is the only perfect man whose true prophecies, acceptance of prayers and miracles are incontrovertible facts because these marvels still exist among his true followers. 

With the exception of Islam, where are those religions that embody these characteristics and powers within them? Where are those people and in which land do they dwell who can com- pete with Islam in these blessings and manifestations? If a person is merely an adherent of a religion that is devoid of spirituality, then thatperson is wasting his own faith. The true religion is the religion that is alive and harbors within itself the spirit of life, and that leads its followers to the living God.

I wish to observe here that the previous quote reflects a characteristic of Hazrat Mirza that was not to be found in any otherscholar or philosopher, or in any other saint or Reformer (mujaddid). Is there anyone who has chal- lenged the adherents of other faithsin this manner? This then is the

characteristic that distinguishes Hazrat Mirza from others, and proves his grandeur and the magnificence of his status. Hazrat Mirza established the dominance of Islam over all other religions, not only through his rational writings, but also through the presentation of his personal spiritual experi- ence. In this way, he definitively settled the matter of Islam’s dominance over all other religions. Not only did he prove this, but he also made it clear as daylight that Islam is the only true and living religion, and that Islam is the only faith thatleads man to the Living God.

Arbain Number Two

Arbain Number Two was published on September 27, 1900. Instead of being a proclamation, it was actually a lengthy booklet in which Hazrat Mirza presented arguments to prove his claim to be the Promised Messiah. An especially noteworthy aspect of thisbooklet was that Hazrat Mirza repro- duced in it the revelations in which he had been informed by God of his appointment as a Reformer (mujaddid), the death of Jesus, and that he, Hazrat Mirza, was the Promised Messiah and Mahdi (rightly-guided one).

Addressing the scholars of the community, Hazrat Mirza observed:

Reconciliation of this sort can be achieved when the hearts are absolute- ly cleansed of mischief, and when you people have resolvedto come to a decision, bearing God as a witness. It shall be necessary in this matter that forty prominent clerics such as MaulviBatalvi, Maulvi Nazeer Husain of Delhi, Maulvi Abdul Jabbar Ghaznavi, Maulvi Rasheed Ahmad of Gangoh, and Pir Golarwipublish a written undertaking to the effect that if a miraculous sign is manifested (on my behalf), then they will eschew their opposition to me and that they will take my pledge out of the fear of God Almighty.

This undertaking should be witnessed by fifty respectable Muslims and published in a newspaper.

If this mode of reconciliation is unacceptable, and if you feel that tak- ing such a pledge diminishes your pride, or if you feel that taking such a pledge entails a humbleness that is not possible for everyone, then there is another easy solution; and there can be no easier solution than this as it entails neither any diminishing of your pride nor any fear of dangerous consequences to life, property or honor that could result from a prayer duel (mubahalah, a meeting of contending parties where people or parties invoke the curse of God upon those who are in moral error).

The solution is that, out of the fear of God and out of mercy for this Islamic community, you should call a public meeting in the town of Batala, or Amritsar or Lahore. Distinguished scholars and accomplished people, as many as possible, should gather in this proposed meeting, and I will also come with my followers. 

Then all of them (i.e., the opponents) shall supplicate as follows: O God! If You know that this person is a liar and has not been appointed by You, and is neither the Promised Messiah nor the Mahdi, then remove this tribulation from the Muslim community and save Islam from hismischief in the same way that You saved the Muslims from the mischief of Musaylimah, the liar,1 and Al- Aswad Al-Ansi2 bycausing them to perish. And if he has been appointed by You and it is our intelligence and understanding that is at fault, then O All Powerful give us understanding so that we may not head towards our destruction. And manifest such signs and events in hisfavor that will convince us that he has been appointed by You. Upon the completion of this prayer, my followers shall call outloudly “amen.”

Following that, I shall supplicate, and at that time I shall be holding in my hand all those revelations that have recently beenwritten and some of which are reproduced in what follows. In short, this publication which contains all these revelations will be inmy hand. 

The text of my supplication will be: “O God! On the basis of the revelations enumer- ated in the booklet that I now hold in my hands, I believe that I am the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, and I further believe that Jesus died in this world. If these arenot Your words, and if You deem me to be a liar, slanderer, and the Antichrist who has caused dissension in the Islamic community, and to be a person who has earned Your wrath, then I implore You with complete humility that You cause me to die, wreck my affairs, and blot out my name from the face of this earth within one year from this date. 

But if I have indeed been appointed by You, and if the revelations that I have in my hands are indeed from You, and if I am indeed the recipient of Your favors, then, OPowerful and Bountiful God, during the same next year grant my Movement extraordinary success and blessings, bless my life, and shower us with heavenly affirmations.”

Upon the conclusion of this prayer, all members of the opposition who have gathered shall pronounce amen.

I wish to remark here on the great simplicity and decisiveness embodied in the method proposed by Hazrat Mirza to all the scholars and learned people as a solution to the prevailing dissension. For someone who believes in God, considers God to be Ever-Living,Self-Subsisting and Omnipotent there could not have been a better solution than the one proposed by Hazrat Mirza. The proposed solution did not involve any mubahalah, wherein the partici- pating parties would have invoked the curse and wrath of God upon the party in error. Instead, as outlined in the preceding proposal, the only person on whom God’s wrath was to be invoked was Hazrat Mirza in the eventuality that he was a liar.

So the opposition stood to gain from either of the two possible out- comes of the proposed meeting as follows:

  1. If Hazrat Mirza was indeed righteous, then the prayer to Allah was that Allah should cause truth to dawn upon the opposition,and that Allah should manifest the reality of the affair to them via some heavenly sign.
  2. If Hazrat Mirza was a liar, then the prayer was that Allah should cause him to perish and cause his name to be erased from this world.

A moment of reflection would show that the opposition stood to benefit from whichever outcome materialized in the proposed solution; if Hazrat Mirza was indeed righteous, then the truth would manifest itself to his oppo- nents and they would benefit from the truth. If Hazrat Mirza was a liar, then he would perish.

So the easiest solution imaginable had been presented for a lover of righteousness, and for a person seeking to remove discord from fes- tering within the Islamic community. But nobody from the camp of the opposing scholars and learned people came forward to embrace Hazrat Mirza’s proposed solution. This shows clearly that either theopposition did not believe in a Living God Who could judge between truth and falsehood through His Own Will, or that they were so prejudiced and hostile towards Hazrat Mirza that they were simply not prepared to distinguish between right and wrong.

The sad conclusion is that they derived so much pleasure from their animosity to Hazrat Mirza that they were simply not prepared to give it up.

Arbain Number Three, and Arbain Number Four

Arbain Number Three and Arbain Number Four were published together on December 15, 1900. The combined time forcomposing these two publications was three months. In these publications, Hazrat Mirza presented replies to objections from the opposition, as such objections surfaced from time to time. In these issues of ArbainHazrat Mirza drew attention to a Quranic verse that states that if Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had attributed words to God that in fact God had notrevealed, then his right hand would have been seized and his heart-vein severed, and none could have saved him from this fate. The verse is:

And if he had fabricated against Us certain sayings, We would certain- ly have seized him by the right hand. Then cut off his heart’s vein. (69:44-46)

In presenting this Quranic verse, Hazrat Mirza argued that Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) lived for 23 years following his claim of receiving Divine revelations. A person who dishonestly claims to be the recipient of Divine revelations, and who untruthfully claims that he is appointed by God, cannot live for 23 years following such deceitful claims.Thousands of arguments support the fact that Prophet Muhammad was righteous and that he was a prophet of God. So his demise, whichtook place 23 years after his claim, cannot be construed as punishment that God reserves for those who are impostors.

Thus if a person claims to be appointed by God and claims to be the recipient of Divine revelation and lives for 23 years, then this is proof that he hasindeed been appointed by God and that he is not an impostor; an impostor is not given the opportunity to live for 23 years following such false claims. If this logic is abandoned, then the Quranic verse referenced above cannot be used as an argument to support the factthat Prophet Muhammad was indeed a recipient of Divine revelation. God’s argument would thereby be rendered meaningless.

In line with this argument, Hazrat Mirza asserted that more than 23 years had elapsed since he had claimed receiving Divine revelations, and if he was an impostor, he would have been struck dead by God.This was a simple and conclusive argument, but when the opponents are prejudiced, they are not prepared to accept the truth even when their rejection strikes at the roots of a universally accepted belief. One of the opponents, a person by the name of Hafiz Muhammad Yusuf who was a petty officer in the Irrigation Department, stated in a public gathering, and in fact also gave it in writing –without caring that he was actually striking a blow against Prophet Muhammad — that he could refer to several instances in historical works wherein people who had falsely claimed to be recipients of Divine revelation had lived for more than 23 years following theirfalse claims.

Responding to Hafiz Muhammad Yusuf in the ArbainHazrat Mirza stated that while contending with Rev. K.G. Pfanderregarding the authentic- ity of Prophet Muhammad, Maulvi Rahmatullah Kairanawi and Maulvi Syed Aal Hasan had presented in theirrespective books Izala-e-Auham3 and Istifsar the same argument that an imposter claimant of revelation could not survive for 23 years. Rev. K.G. Pfander, an acknowledged historian, had pored over pages of countless history books, and had been unsuccessful in finding even a single reference of a false claimant who had continued to live for more than 23 years following the making of false assertions. 

It was strange indeed that Hafiz Muhammad Yusuf, a scion of the Islamic commu- nity, had the audacity to challenge anaccepted principle based on the Quran. Hazrat Mirza added that Hafiz Muhammad Yusuf’s claim was a mere pretext to oppose him. Because the argument provided by this Quranic verse proved Hazrat Mirza’s truthfulness, Hazrat Mirza’s opponents were shame- lesslywilling to refute this argument even if it meant undermining the case for Prophet Muhammad’s claim. If a false claimant can continueto live for 23 years, then the fact that Prophet Muhammad lived for 23 years after his claim of receiving Divine revelation would nolonger serve as an argument in support of his righteousness. 

Also, the Quranic verse that states that if Prophet Muhammad had falsely claimed receiving revelation from God then God would have killed him would be rendered meaningless. The argument adducedfrom this verse has merit only if a false claimant perishes prior to the completion of the period of 23 years. It is only then that onecould argue that if Prophet Muhammad had been an impostor, he would not have lived for 23 years following his claim, but wouldhave perished much earlier in accordance with the referenced Quranic verse. 

So the fact that Prophet Muhammad lived for 23 years after his claim serves as proof positive that he was not an impostor. The principle that is adduced from this is that if a person livesfor 23 years following his claim of being the recipient of Divine reve- lation then that person is righteous. Because this argument supported Hazrat Mirza’s righteousness, his opponents saw their deliverance in trying to refute this argument altogether!

Announcement of a Prize

Hazrat Mirza was never one to leave matters unresolved. In this matter too, he took steps to settle it conclusively. He proved inseveral ways that the argument embodied in the preceding Quranic verse was correct, and he chal- lenged the scholars of Punjab and India, in general, and Hafiz Muhammad Yusuf, in particular, as follows:

Whoever presents an example of a person who falsely claimed to be a prophet, or falsely claimed to be an appointee of God, andsubsequent- ly lived for 23 years — this being the period of time that elapsed in the life of Prophet Muhammad following thereceipt of Divine revelation — shall receive a cash prize of five hundred rupees from me provided the example is conformable with the requirements of my proof or the proof of the Quran. If the proof of such an example is presented by more than one person, then those people shall have the liberty to share the cash prize among them. People are hereby given a period of fifteen days from the issuance of this announcement in which to search throughout the world for such an example.

Next, Hazrat Mirza clarified the characteristics of the recipients of Divine revelation to whom reference is made in the stated Quranic verse:

Perhaps Hafiz Muhammad Yusuf’s insistence and his repeated asser- tion in gatherings that a person may not perish in 23 yearsafter making false imputations to God is a result of some claims he may have made himself falsely attributing them to God. He may have said that he had seen a dream or received a revelation. Since God had not severed his heart-vein and caused him to perish, he may have concluded in his heart that the saying of God in respect of His beneficent Prophet — i.e., that God would sever his heart’s vein if he wrongly imputed any- thing to God — is also incorrect.

The answer to this is that this Quranic verse is applicable only to mes- sengers, prophets and those appointed by God, who invite millions of people to their message, and whose false imputations could potentially ruin the world. However, a person who makesno claim to be a reformer or prophet or messenger, but merely lies or exaggerates about seeing a dream or receiving a Divine revelation out of frivolity or to impress people does not fall within the purview of this verse even if the said person considershimself to be an appointee of God. 

Such a person is akin to a wretched insect that is born in filth and ends its life in that samesqualor. Such a despicable person is not even worthy enough that God should grant him an untimely death because of his false imputa- tions towards God. He is even unworthy of being cursed because of his contemptible wretchedness. He is neither obeyed nor regarded as a prophet or appointee of God by anyone.

Aside from this, it should also be shown that a period of 23 years has elapsed since such a person’s slanderous activity.4

Removal of a doubt

Subsequently, Hazrat Mirza shed further light on the aforementioned Quranic verse:

A well-meaning friend has raised the objection that in the Quranic verse “And if he had fabricated against Us…” the only personaddressed is Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him); why then should it be understood from it that if any other person makes a false imputation, then he too would perish. The reply that I gave to this friend was that this statement of God is in the nature of a proof, and is one of the arguments, amongmany others, in support of the genuineness of Prophet Muhammad. The truth of these Divine words is verified only if a false claimant perishes. Otherwise, these words neither serve to settle the matter with an unbeliever, nor do they serve as an argumentagainst such a person. 

Rather, that unbeliever can claim that the fact that Prophet Muhammad did not perish during the period of 23 years was not because he was a righteous person, but instead it was because making false imputations to God is a sin that isnot grave enough to merit punishment by an untimely death in this world. Had it been such a sin, and had the law of God operated in this way that an imposter should be punished in this world, then there must be some examples of it; but you yourself accept that there is no other example, and that, on the contrary, there are many examples of people who fabricated revelation from God for 23 years or even longer, and they were not destroyed. So tell us what answer can be given to this objection?

Hazrat Mirza then showed that even in the Old Testament and other earlier revealed books, the punishment for a person making false imputations to God was that he would perish.

Supplement to Arbain Number Three and Arbain Number Four

On December 29, 1900, Hazrat Mirza published a supplement to Arbain Number Three and Arbain Number Four in which he extended a heartfelt invitation to the nation. While advancing arguments in support of his truthfulness and his appointment by God, he addressed the Islamic community in these profound and heartfelt words:

It would have been better if my opponents, even though they were deprived of the ability to accept me, had held their tongues andsilently observed my fate. The burden of all the cursing that the general public is indulging in rests squarely on the shoulders of these clerics. Alas, these people do not act with any insight. I am a chronically ill man, and the two yellow sheets, which have beenmentioned in the hadith5 as the apparel of the Messiah when he descends, are my lot. The meaning of two yellow sheets, in accordance with the science of interpreting dreams, is the presence of two ailments.

  • One of those yellow sheets symbolizes the ailments in the upper half of my body; I am given to frequent attacks of headache, dizziness, insomnia, and rapid heartbeat. The other yellow sheet symbolizes the ailment in the lower half of my body; I have been suffering from diabetes for quite some time now, and there are times when I have to urinate hundreds of times during the night or day. I also suffer from the subsequent debilitation that is concomitant upon this excessive urination. There are times when as I go up the steps (of the mosque) to perform my prayers, my physical condition is such that I do not think that I will liveto put my foot on the next step.

How can a person be so audacious as to falsely impute things to God when his condition is such that death may come to him any day, and examples abound of the consequence of such afflictions…then the zeal with which I am engaged in missionary work despite my precarious health, could that possibly be part of a falsifier’s personality?

Further in that supplementary article, Hazrat Mirza observed:

I say this purely as advice to the opposing scholars and their like-mind- ed brethren that cursing others and resorting to the use offoul language is not the way of decent people. If you choose this disposition, then that is your own decision. However, since you call me a liar, then you also have the authority to gather in mosques by groups, or else to go there singly, and then cast maledictions upon me and perform heart- rending supplications for my destruction. If I am a liar, then those prayers shall definitely be accepted. In fact, you have already per- formed such supplications.

But remember this. Even if you pray so much that your tongues become sore, and even if you prostrate yourself tearfully so excessive- ly that your noses turn raw, and even if you cry so profusely that the circles under your eyes are dissolved, and youreyelashes are shed, and your eyesight is affected by the excess of your lamentations, or you develop convulsions or go into a depression as a result of your impas- sioned maledictions, your prayers shall not be answered because I have been appointed by God. Anyone who curses me will himself become the target of that curse and the curse shall fall back on his heart and he shall noteven be aware of this fact.

In summary, Hazrat Mirza implored the Islamic nation with heartfelt words that cursing others was not the work of decent people, and that they should ponder his claims with a cool mind, that they should exercise the judgment of a believer, and that they should prayto God so that He may thereby

enlighten them. Hazrat Mirza finally added that because God had appointed him, if people chose to persist in their present ways, then all their endeavors to cause harm to him would be utterly futile. Instead, they would end up harming their own selves.

APPENDIX

At this point, I consider it essential to respond in detail to the objections of those people who have out of ignorance or perhapsduplicity furnished the example of Baha Ullah and stated that he lived for more than 23 years after having made false claims. It is important to remember the chain of events that preceded this objection: Hazrat Mirza had issued a challenge to all the religious scholars of India through his books ArbainTuhfa Golarwiyya and Tuhfa-tun-Nadwa that they should present within fifteen days the name of even a single person who had lived for 23 years after having made a fraudu- lent claim of being a prophet, messenger or an appointee of Allah, and after having narrated fabricated Divine revelations. According to the challenge, if anybody presented such an example, then he would receive a cash prize of five hundred rupees from Hazrat Mirza.

Following that challenge, nobody provided the example of Baha Ullah (1817-1892), either in the allotted period of fifteen days per Hazrat Mirza’s challenge, or even in the entire lifetime of Hazrat Mirza. Baha Ullah had died in 1892, only a short period before the challenge, and the events of his life were public knowledge. Interestingly, Mirza Mahmud Zurqani, a mis- sionary of the Bahai faith, resided in Lahore at that time, and other members of the Bahai faith lived in the province of Punjab as well. Yet nobody fur- nished the example of Baha Ullah’s life at that time as one that fulfilled the criterion. The reason was that it was manifestly clear to everybody, friend and foe alike, that Baha Ullah had not claimed to be a prophet and messen- ger, or a reformer and appointee of God who receivedrevelation. Mirza Abul Fazail Gulpikani, a renowned Bahai missionary, clearly refuted the opinion that Baha Ullah claimed to be a prophet or messenger in his book Al-Faraid by stating that: “The notion that Baha Ullah claimed to be a prophet is a mere conjecture.”(Al- Faraid, page 375)

On the other hand, Ali Muhammad Baab (1819-1850), another religious personality of that era, claimed to be a recipient of Divine revelations and of being an appointee of God. Ali Muhammad Baab alleged that his book Al- Bayan was a compilation of Divinerevelations. Accordingly, he met a violent death within a period of six years.

Baha Ullah gave a new twist to his creed. He alleged that the era of prophethood had closed with the passing away of ProphetMuhammad who was the last of the prophets. Following the cessation of the age of prophets, the era of Divinity had commenced. In other words, God would no longer appoint prophets, messengers and reformers. In terms of human progress, mankind had advanced tremendously; any person who comes now will not declare:

Say: I am only a mortal like you — it is revealed to me that your God is one God. (18:110)

That is, he has communion with God and is a recipient of revelation. Instead, Baha Ullah asserted, people who would now rise to the vanguard would claim to be manifestations of Divinity, whose advent would be the advent of God, and whose speech would be the speech of God. In other words, such people would be the incarnation of God. On this basis, Baha Ullah declared himself to be the manifestation of divinity, and as being the fulfillment of all those promises that are to be found in the Holy Quran regarding themanifestation of God…

The manifestation of God is referred to in the Quran in association with events that pertain to the Day of Requital. For example:

  • The blowing of the trumpet,
  • The establishment of Judgment Day,
  • The appearance of God in His glory for the requital of the deeds of mankind, etc.

Baha Ullah claimed to be the fulfillment of the reference in the Quranic vers- es about the manifestation of God. For instance, Baha Ullah claimed that he was being referred to in the following Quranic verse:

And the earth beams with the light of its Lord, and the Book is laid down, and the prophets and witnesses are brought up, and judgment is given between them with justice, and they are not wronged. And every soul is paid back fully for what it did, and He knows best what they do. (39: 69,70)

Similarly, Baha Ullah claimed to be the fulfillment of the following Quranic verse:

Surely the hour is coming — I am about to make it manifest — so that every soul may be rewarded as it strives. (20:15)

There are scores of other Quranic verses that refer to the manifestation of God, the establishment of the Judgment Day and thebestowing of rewards on the righteous and the punishment of the sinners. These verses are generally considered to be about afterlife, butBaha Ullah claimed the verses referred to him. Based on this claim, he announced his arrival as the arrival of God! Thus there remains no doubt at all that Baha Ullah did not claim to be a recipient of Divine revelations or that he made false imputations to God.

Instead he claimed Divinity, and maintained that God had manifested Himself in the form of Baha Ullah. Consequently, Baha Ullah’s words were his own but they were the word of God because he was the manifestation of God. Nowhere is it stated in Baha Ullah’s book Kitab-i-Aqdas, in which the religious law is laid down,that God revealed this book to him. Instead, he claimed the authorship of that book, and other books as well, and claimed that his penmanship was the work of God because he considered himself to be the manifestation of God; his spoken words were the words of God and his pen was the pen of God. Baha Ullah positively did not regard Kitab-i-Aqdas as a book that was revealed to him by God. Towards the closing of the said book (page 380), Baha Ullah wrote: “Kitab-i-Aqdas is that book that this oppressed man (Baha Ullah)revealed in the big jail… Cherished is he who drank the wine of reve- lations from my blessed hands.” This statement shows that theperson revealing the book is the man who is oppressed and is incarcerated in the pen- itentiary i.e., Baha Ullah himself.

And the cherished person is he who drinks the wine of revelation from the hands of this oppressed man. Thus, in Baha Ullah’s terminology, revelation isnot communion that he receives from God but is his own writing, the publication and propagation of which is referred to as its nuzool orthe descent of revelation towards the nation. This was not all; Baha Ullah also claimed to have revealed the book Al-Bayan to AliMuhammad Baab. In this connection, Baha Ullah complained in Kitab-i- Aqdas (page 159) regarding those Baabis (disciples of Ali Muhammad Baab) who did not believe in Baha Ullah: “These Baabis read and remember Ali Muhammad Baab’s book Al-Bayan, butlevel charges of disbelief against me who is its sender; they read the verses of Al-Bayan, but reject me who revealed this book.”

Also consider the following excerpt (page 77) from Kitab-i-Aqdas: “There is no God but me, the one who is the Protector and the Self-subsisting by whom all things subsist, and we certainly sent forth mes- sengers and revealed books.” The preceding statement is clearly a claim to Divinity. It cannot be argued that Baha Ullah is stating this as a narrative from God; I have already shown that Baha Ullahclaimed to have revealed Kitab-i- Aqdas and Al-Bayan. So the person who revealed these books is the same person who claimed to be the Protector and the Self-subsisting by whom all things subsist. In this regard, consider too the following brief chronicle from the eminent Muslim scholar, Maulvi Abdul Haq Vidhyarthi. He relates that, upon a visit to the city of Bombay, he observed the followingwords inscribed on a plaque outside a Bahai place of worship: “There is no God but Baha Ullah.”

As for the excerpts that I have presented here, they are merely a few samples. Otherwise, Kitab-i-Aqdas and Baha Ullah’s otherworks are replete with claims of the same nature. The entire Bahai literature depicts Baha Ullah as a manifestation of divinity as if he is God himself, and whose word is the word of God.

As for Baha Ullah himself, he appeared to have been so eager to claim the status of Divinity that he begins the chapters of his book with new epitaphs instead of the conventional, “In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.” For example, in one place, he begins with the phrase: “He is the One Who is the Manifest, the Speaker, the Knower of all things, the Wise” – words which are clearly the attributes of God. But in another place, he begins the chapter with: “Take my name and seek assis- tance. I am the One who is oppressed, the Manifest, and imprisoned in the Central Prison.” So the person who was referred to as being the Manifest in the first quotation above and whose other attributes were, the Speaker, the Knower of all things, the Wise, is shown by the second quotation as being none other than the oppressed Baha Ullah himself who is incarcerated in prison. In other words, this is an unequivocal claim to divinity. If someone wishes to look the other way, and chooses not to be cognizant of these facts, then that is a separate affair altogether. But a study of Baha Ullah’s Kitab-i- Aqdas, as well as his other works, can lead to onlyone of two conclusions

— either Baha Ullah was deranged, and if he was not deranged then he was clearly claiming divinity.

Can there be any ambiguity regarding Baha Ullah’s following statement in Kitab-i-Aqdas: “Certainly that God is in prison right now, remembering his friends.” In his work Addiya, Baha Ullah, states the following regarding himself: “Circumambulate and pay a visit to the Lord of men in these days.” Then, in his work Mubeen (page 250), Baha Ullah states: “Such are the directives of the Beneficent who is imprisoned at the hands of the oppres- sors.” In that same book (page 297), he writes: “Be in obedience to yourLord, the Beneficent, who is presently beleaguered by severe difficulties, and who calls to the people with truth.” In summary, the status that Baha Ullah accorded to himself was that of God or, at the very least, of a manifes- tation of God whose words were the words of God.

That is why Baha Ullah declared his work Kitab-i-Aqdas, as well as his other books that he wrote himself as the word of God. He did not claim to be a person to whom God spoke, but claimed in plain words of being the One Who spoke to Prophet Moses at Mount Sinai i.e., that he was God himself. Baha Ullah wrote the following in a letter to Husain who was one of his disciples: “O Husain, lis- ten to that which the One Who spoke at Mount Sinai has to say to you” (Kitab-i-Aqdas page 113). The gist of this is clearly that the One Who spoke to Prophet Moses at Mount Sinai was today speaking to Husain in the form

of Baha Ullah. Then, in another location in Kitab-i-Aqdas, Baha Ullah reminded Naseer, another one of his disciples, of an old meetingbetween the two of them: “Remember the time when the One Who spoke at Mount Sinai spoke to you, and when the manifestationof God turned His attention towards you.” In this statement, “the One Who spoke at Mount Sinai” and “the manifestation of God” isnone other than Baha Ullah. In the same book, Kitab-i-Aqdas, Baha Ullah stated the following as well: “O you who dwell in this world! Undoubtedly the day of God’s assistance has arrived, and the One Who spoke at Mount Sinai has made himself manifest with such signs that all those who inhabit the heavens and the earth have become power- less.”6

Given this background, it would be a grave mistake to judge Baha Ullah by the criterion laid down in the Quranic verse: “And if he had fabricated against Us…” This verse is a criterion only for a person who claims to be a human, and a Messenger or appointee of God in accordance with God’s ancient tradition and claims to be a recipient of revelation from God. It is not a criterion for a person whosays that his word is revelation. 

The punishment for the person who falsely claims to be a messenger or prophet has been pre- scribed so that that person by his false claim may not create doubt in the minds of men about God’s tradition under which He has been sending reve- lations and Books, Prophets and appointees for the guidance of mankind. However, a person who does not present himself before the world under this ancient tradition of God, but innovates a new philosophy that he is God or such a perfect manifestation of God on earth that his word is equivalent to the word of God does not fall in the category of a person who makes the false assertion that hereceives revelation from God. 

The innovator of the new phi- losophy does not make a false imputation because he does not say that theword of God descends on him by revelation; instead he says what he is pre- senting is his own word, but it is the word of God because he has the status of God. Such a person does not fall in the ambit of the threat contained in the verse: “And if he had fabricated against Us….” The discussion about such a person boils down to whether a man can be God or can be considered such a manifestation of Godthat his word can be called the word of God.

Reckoning a mortal to be God or deeming a mortal to be such a mani-

festation of divinity that his word is the word of God is such a farcical notion that no right-minded soul can accept it; it is for this reason that God has not mandated any punishment in this world for such claimants of Divinity. Instead, the matter of such claimants shall be presented to God on Judgment

  • Glory be to Allah! What kind of heavenly signs were these, and how were the dwellers of the heavens and the earth rendered powerless before Baha Ullah when he had to spend most of his life incarcerated in jail and finally died in exile? – Author.

Day, along with the affairs of those people who deny the existence of God, as well as of those who, God forbid, direct abusive language towards Him. God did not wish to insult the human intellect by mandating punishment in this world for such claimants of Divinity. And it is frankly quite astonishing how anyone can actually consider an unsuccessful and perennially defeated man such as Baha Ullahas God or the manifestation of Divinity!

I once had a conversation with Mahfooz-ul-Haq, a missionary of the Bahai faith in the city of Delhi. He proffered the same theory that the era of prophethood had reached closure and that, following the cessation of the series of prophets, the era of Divinity hadsubsequently commenced. Following that, Mahfooz-ul-Haq discoursed upon many Quranic verses that speak about the manifestation of God on the Day of Judgment, and pro- nounced that Baha Ullah was the fulfillment of that manifestation. I replied to him in the following words: “We then are greatly disappointed.

Upon reading these Quranic verses, we had understood that when God wouldappear in His glory for the requital of the deeds of mankind, the wicked and iniquitous people would receive chastisement, and theoppressed and aggrieved people would get assistance and support.

But how unfortunate is humanity that when, according to you, God manifested Himself in the form of Baha Ullah after many a lifetime of wishes and hopes, He could not even offer any assistance and support to his worshippers? Instead, He fell into the claws of those wicked and nefarious people themselves. Those iniquitous people treated your conjectural God (Baha Ullah) so malevolently that they dragged him into a prison where he languished for a long time. While in that prison, he repeatedly referred to himself as the oppressed person, and cried for aid.

Following that, Baha Ullah was exiled, where he ultimately met his end. God forbid! What a regretful sketch of God! What a bizarre manifesta- tion of God that, although hecame to the aid of the oppressed, he was instead trounced upon by the tyrants themselves. Instead of being illuminated with Divine light,the world remained benighted and enveloped in appalling dark- ness. We had great hopes and aspirations associated with Divinemanifestation, and instead are terribly crestfallen.” Mahfooz-ul-Haq was unable to reply to these remarks.

Footnotes

Hazrat Mirza is also the author of a book Izala Auham but the reference here is to Maulvi Rahmatullah’s book of the same name. Maulvi Rahmatullah’s book also has a secondary name Izalat-ul-Auham.

See Appendix to this chapter.

Sahih Muslim, Vol. 8, P. 192-193

  1. Musaylimah or Maslamah bin Habib was one of a series of men who claimed to be a prophet around the same time as Prophet Muhammad. He is viewed as a false prophet by traditional accounts, and frequently referred to by the epithet “the Liar.”
  2. Al-Aswad Al-Ansi claimed to be a prophet in 12th year after Hijrah.

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