The date April 4, 1905 is indelibly etched in the minds of the people of Punjab. This was the day when, at the time of the Fajr (morning) prayer, a severe earthquake caused scenes reminiscent of the Judgment Day.
The prophecies of Hazrat Mirza regarding this earthquake
Hazrat Mirza had prophesied a catastrophic earthquake in his book Barahin Ahmadiyya. But four years prior to the earthquake of April 4, 1905, he drew people’s attention again to such an event in a poem he had composed on the occasion of the Ameen (first completion of the reading of the Holy Quran) of his sons Mian Bashir Ahmad and Mian Sharif Ahmad.
The relevant verses in the poem were:
Such a moment waits in the backdrop
That it shall evoke the semblance of Judgment Day.
Eleven months prior to the earthquake, Hazrat Mirza published a Divine revelation that stated: Jolt of the earthquake; houses and structures in the land will be obliterated. The import of the revelation was very clear – a catastrophic earthquake would level masonry and mud dwellings to the ground.
Subsequent to this, on February 27, 1905, Hazrat Mirza alerted the public through an announcement titled Al-Wasiyyat that the time of the prophesied event was very near. Referring to his earlier revelation, Jolt of the earthquake; houses and structures in the land will be obliterated, that had been published in the newspaper Al-Hakam on May 30,1904, and also in the newspaper Al-Badar on May 24, 1904, he stated:
Now I see that that time is very near. This night, at 4:00 A.M., I saw in a vision that grievous deaths have resulted in a doomsdaylike din. The words of the Divine revelation, “Death on all sides” were on my lips when I woke up. Right away in the portion of the night that was left, I set about writing this announcement.
Friends, arise and be warned that a time of great tribulation has arrived for the present generation. There is no way to cross the river now except in the boat of righteousness. A believer turns to God in times of fear for there is no peace without Him.
Atone for yourselves by bearing tribulations and adopting sincer- ity. And sacrifice yourself by effacing yourself in righteousness, and bear your own burden while exerting yourself vigorously in the waysof piety. Our God is very Merciful and Kind; His wrath is stemmed by the tears of the suppliant, but only for those who shed theirtears aforetime and not upon seeing corpses of the dead.
God can remove the prophecy of chastisement from those that fear. Ignorant people say, “Why did this prophecy not come about?” If it was not the way of God to remove misfortunes He had decreed, or to remove the calamities and tribulations He had manifested through Prophets when people prayed, sacrificed, gave charity and wept and wailed, then the world would have been annihilated long ago. So do good deeds and be expectant of God’s mercy.
Sorrow over the nation’s lack of concern
Through this announcement, Hazrat Mirza fervently advised the pub- lic from the depth of his heart to hasten towards God, and to repent and pray to God with sincere contrition. But antagonistic newspapers and clerics scornfully ridiculed these genuine exhortations and paid no attention to his advice.
The extent to which Hazrat Mirza was pained by this inattentiveness and carelessnessof the nation can be gauged by the following passage which was written for another similar situation. Hazrat Mirza wrote:
It is unfortunate that the Heaven is testifying but you choose not to listen, and the earth is calling out, “Necessity! Necessity!” butyou do not see. O unfortunate nation! Rise and see that in this time of tribulation when Islam has been trampled under the feet,and has been dishonored like criminals, and has been counted among the fabricators, and written among the impure, then should not the honor of God have been provoked at such a time?
Understand that the heaven is bearing down and those days are near when every ear shall hear the words (of God), “I am present.” (Al-Hakam, dated January 24, 1904)
The Great Earthquake
The word of God was presently fulfilled. On April 4, 1905, the Great Earthquake that Hazrat Mirza had been prophesying jolted the land in the early hours of the morning around the time of the Fajr prayer. Below, I pres- ent a few excerpts from the prominent newspapers of that time to give you some idea of the power of the earthquake:
- Newspaper Zamindaar, Lahore.
The earthquake of April 4 gives a glimpse into the horrifying scenes preceding the Day of Judgment that the world shall eventually have to see one day.
- Newspaper Paisa Akhbar, Lahore.
A severe and terrifying earthquake jolted Lahore on April 4… It served as a reminder and sample for those who consider the Day of Judgment as a joke and these unequivocal events as absurd.
- Newspaper Tehzeeb-ul-Niswan, Lahore.
The entire city was transformed into a scene of doomsday. In Lahore, this became a day of weeping and wailing, funeral rites and burials, and condolences and enquiries about the injured. It was particularly destructive in the mountain town of Dharamsala where property dam- age and death toll was especially severe. Many British men and women were among those killed, and theentire bazaar was reduced to rubble.
- Newspaper Wakeel, Amritsar.
We reported the news of the earthquake of April 4 briefly in the pre- vious issue of the newspaper… But when the scenes of the destruction come to mind, by God, one is unnerved and terrified. We are at a loss as to what to write or what to do… They just could not imagine that a terrifying example of Divine wrath was about to be manifested in a few moments… Most people were so terrified by this extraordinary and awe-inspiring show of Divine wrath that they ran out of their houses.
Everybody’s face, bethey men or women, young or old, revealed grievous bewilderment, despair and anxiety… In short, this earthquake was so awe inspiring and formidable that it would be no exaggeration to call it a lesser doomsday.
In fact, when the earthquake was raging at its full intensity, people generally came to believe that the Day of Judgment had actually arrived… Even though this earth- quake was just a sampling of the dreadful events that Allah has described regarding the Day of Judgment in the Holy Quran, it created great panic and confusion among the masses… In fact, there is no doubt that God, the Powerful, shows thesewrathful signs merely as a sign of disapproval of the evil actions and remissness of us sinners.
- Newspaper Vir Bharat.
When that atmosphere of doomsday, that awesome scene, passes before the eyes, one is frightened to death; fathers did not carefor their children nor did wives for their husbands.
Both Urdu and English language newspapers of those days were replete with such reports. During that time, Mir Tufail Husain wrote a letter from the town of Nadoon in Kangra district to Chaudry Allahdaad in Qadian. This let- ter was published in the newspaper Al-Badar. Referring to the earthquake, he wrote:
The town of Kangra, with a population of approximately six thousand people, has been completely demolished. There is not a single house left standing, and only about six hundred people have survived. Out of the seventy children in the school only about twenty remain alive, and only two teachers escaped with their lives.
The situation in the town of Dharamsala is even worse. There are only sporadic cases of people actually surviving the earthquake. A Gurkha platoon of five hundred soldiers was completelyburied alive by the earthquake. Many Britishers have also perished.
In the town of Sajanpur, Maulvi Wazir-ud-Din, an Ahmadi, survived, but the town itself was completely destroyed. Grand solidlybuilt hous- es were utterly demolished. In the town of Palampur, nothing is visible except the trees…
People, both rich and poor, are languishing in fields with nothing to eat. To add to their miseries, torrential rain and occa- sionally even hail are beating down upon them. The horrible stench of decaying corpses is unbearable. By the grace of God, not even a single Ahmadi life was lost in this district as a result of the earthquake. Even those who got trapped under the rubble managed to escape narrowly.
Many other letters were also published that recounted the horrors of the earthquake. Brief excerpts from some of them follow:
There is not even a sign left of the goddess of Kangra and many Hindu pilgrims to the temple have perished. Kangra Fort, which predates the time of Jesus, was completely uprooted and swept away by the torrents of the raging river. In many places, even theturrets could not be found. The jail building along with the housed prisoners fell into a ravine and everyone in it died. All members of the princely family of Qila Rehlu also perished. It so happened that all the members of this eminent and famous family hadgathered for a function in Fort Rehlu. Some of them had traveled from other towns to be there when the earthquake struck
causing the roof of the fort to collapse and to kill almost the entire family — some forty men and women in all. However, one of their family members had stepped outside to perform ablution, as had his lit- tle daughter who had come crying after him. The father and daughter were the only two members of the family that survived.
The editor of the newspaper Nur-Afshan lamented:
The earthquake demolished the houses of the Christian clergy. The clergymen along with their wives and children were buried in the rub- ble and perished. This catastrophe has caused great sorrow in the Christian community.
The newspaper Civil wrote:
The church fell down and the missionary school was wiped out. Even the missionary ladies who happened to be sitting in the verandah did not have the time to take the few steps to get out in the open.
Jwalamukhi, which is a sacred place for the Hindus, was destroyed. Three-fourths of the houses have been obliterated, while theremaining one-fourth are severely damaged and unfit for habitation. People are now squatting outside.
A large number of Hindu pilgrims have died; their number is believed to be at least one hundred and fifty. The sec- tion of the temple where the Latun Wali Devi (Hindu goddess) was housed was leveled to the ground, while the rest of the temple is badly damaged. The vestibule of thetemple also crumbled and fell down.
A person describing the destruction of Kangra and Bhawan wrote:
Not a single house can be seen standing. Even the smaller houses have been flattened. There is no skyline anymore; everything has been lev- eled to the ground. The church in Kangra fell too, and a large and magnificent temple was completely razed to the ground.
The worshippers in the temple, who numbered several hundred, have almost all perished. It is being said that only fourteen of them survived. A mis- sionary high school in Kangra has also been destroyed. Of the thirteen or fourteen high school teachers, only two survived… The adjoining roads are severely damaged. Roads on which once carriages used to ply are now barely passable on foot. (Published in Badar, dated May 4, 1905)
The list of such grim reports goes on and on. A perusal of the newspa- pers of those days brings to light eye-witness stories and letters that are horrifying. In the city of Lahore, the roof of the Town Hall caved in, and many houses fell down as well. There is nocount of the number of houses
that sustained damage. Tremendous clouds of suffocating dust from the falling houses rose into the sky at the time of the earthquake sothat it became difficult to even breathe! Similarly, both private and government buildings in the city of Simla sustained serious damage.
In brief, the province of Punjab became a veritable house of mourning. News of destruction and death continued to pour in from everywhere. A rough estimate of the death toll was twenty thousand, and the property destruction and damage was in billions of rupees. This estimate does not include the deaths that occurred in the district of Kangra, and the Kohistan region.
The provinces neighboring Punjab such as UP (United Provinces) also sustained damage from the earthquake but to a much lesser extent.
Who could have imagined at that time that Bihar’s and Quetta’s turn to face disas- ter would come later? There is no gainsaying, however, that Hazrat Mirza’s revelations had clearly warned of the coming of several earthquakes. It is perhaps the inadequacy of the human intellect that it cannot comprehend reality until the associated events have actually transpired!
Hazrat Mirza’s conduct during this earthquake
In those days, Hazrat Mirza was composing a new book titled Nusrat- ul-Haq that was later published as the fifth volume inhis work Barahin Ahmadiyya. On April 4, 1905, Hazrat Mirza was engrossed in the writing of this book after the Fajr (morning) prayerwhen the earthquake struck. Hazrat Mirza at the precise moment was penning his now well known revelation, “A warner came into thisworld, but the world did not accept him. However, God shall accept him and manifest his truthfulness with powerful assaults,” when oneassault from the promised powerful assaults took place i.e., the earth- quake struck. The intensity of the earthquake was such thatduring its currency it was out of the question to run out. With every jolt of the earth- quake, it appeared as if everything would beleveled to the ground the very next instant. Tree branches were swaying so vehemently that they would touch the ground beforeshooting up. It was a tremendous spectacle of man’s helplessness and Allah’s greatness and power that the world shall not forget. HazratMirza’s quarters were on the second floor of the house from where there was no easy escape to the open ground outside. But, Allahpro- tected him and there was no damage. As soon as the jolting stopped, Hazrat Mirza moved along with his family and necessaryhousehold equipment to his vast garden on the outskirts of Qadian and set up temporary residence there. Two tents were pitched nextto a small house that existed in the middle of the garden, and a few tent wall partitions were set up to provide living quarters. He alsoadvised his disciples to move to the grounds of the garden.
As a result, many of his disciples took up residence in the garden, some in small tents and others under makeshift shelters. Theseincluded Maulvi Abdul Karim, Maulana Muhammad Ahsan Amrohi, and Maulvi Muhammad Ali. The offices of The Review of Religions and the newspaper Badar were shifted to the garden as well. Maulana Nur-ud-Din’s medical clinic and Quran lessons werealso resumed in the garden.
Hazrat Mirza’s setting up of temporary quarters in the garden, along with his disciples, was prompted by a revelation that he hadreceived regard- ing the occurrence of another severe earthquake after the first one. Hazrat Mirza’s deduction was that the impendingearthquake might strike very soon. Consequently, as a matter of abundant caution, he remained stationed in the garden for three months – April, May and June of 1905. The extent of his sympathy for humanity was very broad indeed. While he was taking these precautions for himself and his friends in Qadian, he also kept regularly warning his fellow countrymen about the second earthquake to the fullestextent possible.
An announcement titled Al-Dawat (The Invitation)
Accordingly, Hazrat Mirza published an announcement titled Al- Dawat on April 5, 1905, in which he informed the public that God’s wrath had been provoked on the earth because people had forgotten God and had become embroiled in all kinds of wicked ways. “I have been sent by God in this time so that I may guide people towards the path of peace and submis- sion. So run towards me so that you may be saved from the trials and tribulations that are about to come.” Hazrat Mirza tried very rationally to make the people understand his message and explained that, “I am the one who was promised. Who will you wait for after me?”
An announcement titled Al-Anzar (The Warning), and the prophecy regarding a severe earthquake.
Following the publication of Al-Dawat announcement, Hazrat Mirza published another announcement titled Al-Anzar on April 8, 1905 in which he announced the prophecy of an impending earthquake. He wrote:
Tonight, around 3 A.M., God revealed to me as follows: “A new sign; the jolt of a new sign; the shock of the Hour (22:1); protectyourselves, surely Allah is with the righteous. He drew nigh to you with his bounty; the truth has come and the falsehood has vanished.”
The translation and explanation of it is: God shall show a fresh sign. People will feel the jolt of this sign. It shall be a tremendous shaking. I have not been informed if the shaking is an earthquake or some other catastrophe that will befall the world and would be severe enough to be called the Day of Judgment.
I have not been given the knowledge of when this event will take place, and I do not know whether it will take place in a few days or a few weeks or that God, the Most High, will manifest it in a few months or a few years. In any case, that event, whether an earth- quake or something else, whether it is near or far, will be much more dangerous than before – it will be appallingly dangerous. I would not have related this if sympathy for mankind had not compelled me to do so.
Then, referring to his prophecy regarding the earthquake of April 4, which he had published a few months earlier in the newspaper Al-Badar and Al- Hakam, Hazrat Mirza noted:
If you do not know Arabic, then ask someone who knows Arabic what is the meaning of this revelation: “Houses and structures in the land will be obliterated.” My dears! What it means is that neighborhoods and sites shall be obliterated. Plague only kills the inhabitants of a house, but the meaning of the event whose information has been com- municated in this Divine revelation is that neither the houses nor their inhabitants would survive.
So you are well aware of the manner and the clarity with which God’sedict was fulfilled. Information about this was given in the announcement titled Al-Wasiyyat. Now that is in the past, but the event that is yet to come is of far greater severity. May Allah have mercy on humanity; may the people realize that they need to berighteous and perform good deeds.
At the end of this announcement, Al-Anzar, he observed:
When God had finished revealing the words of this revelation, the voice of an impious soul reached my ears, and I heard him say: “I was asleep and I landed in hell.” What does a man have to lose if he eschews sinfulness and impiety? What loss would he suffer if he does not worship the created? The fire has been ignited. Rise and smother the flames with your tears.
Hazrat Mirza had this announcement widely distributed, and even had an English translation of it sent to the Viceroy and the Governor of Punjab. An English translation of the announcement was included in The Review of Religions, and through its circulation it was brought to the attention of a worldwide audience. The magnificence with which this prophecy was later fulfilled truly deserved that it should have been brought to the attention of the whole world.
Atheistic mindset of the newspaper Paisa Akhbar, and refutation of its opinion
The newspaper Paisa Akhbar was bitterly opposed to Hazrat Mirza. In keeping with its tradition, it wrote in very contemptuouswords about Hazrat Mirza’s announcement Al-Anzar that earthquakes are a natural phenomenon and it is meaningless to frighten people by calling them a punishment from God.
In so doing, Paisa Akhbar emulated the atheist and materialist thinkers who consider naturalphenomena to be random events, and accordingly view earthquakes to be without any Divine purpose. A God-fearing person who believes that there is a Knowing, Wise, and Powerful Being Who plans and controls the working of nature cannot even entertain the misdirected thought that such events are purely random.
It is precisely in order to make an irrefutable argument against the mate- rialists that the history of the prophets narrated in the Quranis replete with the prophecies of earthly and heavenly calamities and earthquakes with which the various prophets warned their respectivenations before the calamities struck. These holy men had no instruments with which they could find out about coming events likewars, earthquakes, cyclones and floods except that they received their information from Divine revelation and then announced it tothe world with utter conviction. Subsequent events bore out their prophecies.
There is another aspect of these prophecies that provides an insight of a Being with a will and judgment. This other aspect is that despite the help- lessness and weakness of the appointees of God and the strength and power of their opponents, they announce openly that peace and safety lies only in their obedience, and death and destruction would be the fate of the opponents.
Subsequent eventsbear out the truth of their prophecies. Does this not show that these events of nature are not random, and that instead there is a Being with an intellect and a will that is accomplishing everything very effi- ciently behind the scene? It is a different issue that sometimes we may not know His purpose. And it is presumptuous for man to think that he can fath- om the Divine purpose. There is only a limited amount of knowledge in the limited space of his skull.
How can he encompass the infinite knowledge of God. The Quran states this as follows: “And they encompass nothing of His knowledge except what He pleases.” (2:255)
The knowledge granted to prophets and other appointees of God is given under the provision of “except what He pleases.” They are given knowledge from God that an earthquake or other calamity is about to come and the reason for its coming, and the way toescape it. They are worried sick by the import of their information because they are the personification of love for God’s creatures and their hearts overflow with human kindness. They warn the people again and again through their speeches and writings.
Their anxiety and worry is genuine because they perceive what the short- sighted people of this world cannot see.
An announcement titled Al-Nida Min Wahiy Al-Sama (Prophecy of a Great Earthquake, the Second Time, By Revelation from God)
Hazrat Mirza’s condition mirrored the one described above ever since he had received the revelation about a severe earthquake.The profound sym- pathy that he had for God’s creatures made him extremely concerned. He had warned the public through hisannouncement Al-Anzar published on April 8, 1905. Then on April 21, 1905, he published another lengthy announcement titled Al-Nida Min Wahiy Al-Sama i.e., “Prophecy of a Great Earthquake, the Second Time, By Revelation from God.” Of the four verses that wereprinted on the title page, the first one sheds light on his sentiments and sympathy for fellow humans:
O you who sleep, rise quickly! This is not the time for slumber; My heart is anxious at the news in the Divine revelation.
The first sentence of this announcement reads:
On April 9, 1905, Allah has again given me news of a severe earthquake that will be reminiscent of the Day of Judgment and will rob people of their senses.
Hazrat Mirza then stated:
Allah, Glorified and Exalted, has also told me that both these earth- quakes are two signs to manifest your (Hazrat Mirza’s) truthfulness… And remember that the signs do not end here. Rather, many signs shall be manifested, one after another, until man’s eyes shall open, and he shall ask bewildered: “What is happening?” Every day that shall come would be severer and worse thanthe day that preceded it.
Hazrat Mirza then stated in the footnote:
This prophecy is based upon the revelation of April 9, 1905 regarding the second earthquake. It appears as if that dangerousearthquake is not just one, but instead that many other earthquakes shall ensue.
Following this, Hazrat Mirza used many arguments to convince the people and to warn them. He also expressed his regret at the faithlessness of the newspaper Paisa Akhbar. In the end, he wrote:
Now listen, dear friends! Today I have discharged my duty of preach- ing. If you wish, you may ridicule me, abuse me, slander me and call me a liar or you may accept me. I have given you the news before-
hand. O unfortunate people! You cannot escape from the impending punishment — God is incontrovertible, and His promises are true. “And peace to him who follows the guidance” (20:47).
Glory be to God! The battle between man and Satan, which has been going on since time immemorial, was raging furiously even inHazrat Mirza’s time. Hazrat Mirza, with a deep sense of anxiety, was warning the public about the impending earthquakes and inviting them to the way of piety and goodness. His detractors, on the other hand, were publishing articles and poems in opposition. The editor of Paisa Akhbar, Muhammad Baksh, Jaffer Zattali and his ilk were in the forefront of denying that an earthquake was in the off- ing andlabeled Hazrat Mirza’s warnings as merely scare tactics.
Announcement titled: News of the Earthquake, the Third Time
The appointees of God do not care for the opposition and criticism of the people. They act under directions from God, and they dutifully carry out the work that God has assigned to them. Accordingly, on April 29, 1905, Hazrat Mirza published yet anotherannouncement titled: News of the Earthquake, the Third Time. He began the announcement with the following statement:
Today, on April 29, 1905, God has given me news again for the second time of a severe earthquake. With sympathy for mankind asmy sole moti- vation, I warn the entire world that it has been decided in the heavens that a terrible calamity which will wreak havoc shall visit the world. It has been named again and again by God, the Most High, as an earthquake… This is news from God, the Most High, a special revelation from the realm of hidden affairs. Against this, those people who are publishing that no such severeearthquake is impending — regardless of whether they are astrologers or are using some other discipline to conjecture — are liarsand misleading the populace. In fact, this is true, absolutely true.
Thus, Hazrat Mirza issued another forceful warning in this announce- ment. By publishing this prophecy for the third time, Hazrat Mirza ensured that he had made his case comprehensively before the populace, but his opponents were not to be deterred. Theynow sought the Government’s atten- tion and pointed out that Hazrat Mirza was needlessly scaring the public, and therefore it was theduty of the Government to stop him!
Announcement titled: An Important Request to the Government
In response to the mischief of his opponents, Hazrat Mirza published an announcement on May 11, 1905 titled: An Important Request to the Government. He stated therin:
This is a strange era that sympathy is thanklessly rejected. Certain newspapers, Paisa Akhbar in particular, are very annoyed at why I have published news of a second earthquake. They are well aware that whatever I have published was not done with any bad intentions and it is not my aim to cause any annoyance or anxiety to anyone.
Following this, Hazrat Mirza referred to his prophecy of April 4, 1905, and stated:
I regret that I did not publicize it more widely throughout the country. The revelations relating to this earthquake were published only in two Urdu language newspapers, Al-Hakam and Al-Badar.
In a way, I was remiss in not publicizing this prophecy adequately. Hence in order to make amends, this time I want to publicize the prophecy of the second earthquake thoroughly so that no one can claim afterwards that he was not forewarned. Accordingly, I have thoroughly publicized this prophecy in theEnglish language in Pioneer, The Review of Religions, etcetera and other newspapers of the realm.
I have even personally informed the Viceroy of India and the Governor of Punjab. My actions in this regard are based on sincerity and goodwill towards the general public and not motivated by any desire to frighten and harass the people as is claimed by Paisa Akhbar or to scare people so that they become my disciples.
Hazrat Mirza concluded:
I have repeatedly stated in these announcements that by “reformation of the soul” and “repentance,” I do not mean that some Hindu or Christian should convert to Islam, or that he should take the pledge at my hands. Rather, it should be remembered that if someone’s religion is in error, then the Hereafter is the place that is reserved for this judg- ment, and not this temporal world.
The reason for the punishment of nations that were destroyed, for example, by a rain of stones from the heaven, or by drowning in a deluge, or by earthquakes, was not that they worshipped idols or fire or some other created being. Had they adhered to theirfaulty religious practices simply and with civility, then no calamity would have befallen them. But this is not what they did —instead they perpetrated grievous sins in the sight of God, showed extreme arrogance and polluted the earth with their evil deeds. This was the reason why they were chastised in this world.
God is Kind and Merciful, and His wrath is tempered by these attrib- utes. If the people of this era fear God and do not behave asif God does not exist by committing sins and other dark and evil deeds, they will
not be chastised. God says: “Why should Allah chastise you if you are grateful and believe?” (4:147). That is, why would God punish you if you are grateful and believe in Him and fear His greatness and the Day of Judgment?
And similarly complementing this, God says: “Say: My Lord would not care for you, were it not for your prayer.” (25:77) That is, tell them that if they do not become an upright people and engross themselves in the remembrance of God, then my God does not care for their lives. It is indeed true that when a man pursues an inattentive life with no regard for the greatness of God and behaves arrogantly andwithout restraint, then even a goat becomes better than such a man because a goat’s milk can be drunk, its flesh can be eaten, and its hide is useful in several ways.
I know that what I have stated is sufficient for those people whose hearts are not crooked, andwho know that God exists. And peace to him who follows the guidance.
The reason why Hazrat Mirza took up residence in the garden
The announcements that Hazrat Mirza was putting out about the sec- ond great earthquake were motivated purely by his sympathy for mankind, and a sense of duty in his capacity as the appointee of God. Hazrat Mirza had a firm belief in his revelations.
Professor Omori, a Japanese geologist, had given the opinion that the province of Punjab was not likely to be visited by any severe earthquakes for many years to come, and his opinion had been published in newspapers. Hazrat Mirza himself did not know whether the calamity referred to in the revelation as a doomsday earthquake was, in fact, an earthquake or some other type of calamity. Thus, hewrote:
“I have not been informed if the shaking is an earthquake or some other catastrophe that will befall the world and would be severe enough to be called doomsday.” (Al-Anzar)
However, an earthquake could not be ruled out. Despite the expert opinion of the geologist and his own lack of knowledge about the exact nature of the calamity, such was Hazrat Mirza’s belief in his revelations that he stayed camped outside in the garden with his family and household retinue till July 2, 1905 when he finally returned to his house.
So for a period of three months, he endured the scorching heat, the hot winds and the storms. The cloth of the tent or the straw of the makeshift shelters could provide but imperfect protection from the elements of nature. Snakes often frequent gar- dens during spring and summertime. One day, a huge, black snake was spotted but was killed.
Moreover, the adjoining area was populated by Sikhs, and there was no shortage of the criminal type. One day, a very robustSikh by the name of
Bishan Singh who had come with the intention of committing robbery was apprehended. Additionally, Hazrat Mirza’s wife was seriously indisposed during those days.
In brief, Hazrat Mirza bore many hardships but did not return to his house till he was satisfiedthat it was safe to do so after receiving further understanding about the revelation. During this entire period, Hazrat Mirza’s smiling countenance remained unchanged despite the harsh realities of this outdoor existence. At the same time, he continued the work of com-posing and writing the fifth volume of Barahin Ahmadiyya.
Eyewitness account of a traveler
During those days, a young man by the name of Abul Nasar of Delhi, who was the brother of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, visitedQadian. He pub- lished an account of his visit to Qadian in the newspaper Wakeel of Amritsar. His account was reproduced in the May25, 1905 issue of Badar. He wrote:
What else did I see? I saw Qadian, and met Hazrat Mirza. I remained his guest. I should express my gratitude to Hazrat Mirza for his kind- ness and attention. I had blisters in my mouth as a result of fever and was unable to eat salty foods. Hazrat Mirza (who had come out of the house for some reason) recommended that I partake of bread and milk. These days, Hazrat Mirza is staying in a large garden that belongs to him on the outskirts of Qadian. Elders of the community are residing there as well.
The population of Qadian is approximately three thousand, but there is a great deal of hustle and bustle. The tall and stately building of the Nawab Sahib of Malerkotla is the only building of consequence in the habitation. The streets are unpaved and bumpy. In particular, the road from Batala to Qadian is in a class of its own… Respect for a guest was not an attribute confined to only certain individuals. Everyone, young and old, treated me like a brother…
Hazrat Mirza’s countenance is majestic, and it has a powerful effect on the beholder. There is a special kind of sparkle and rapture in his eyes and gentleness in his speech. His disposition is humble but majestic. His temperament is cool, but heartwarming. Patience tempered with humility has produced a moderation of manner. He converses so gently that it appears as if he is smiling. His complexion is fair and his hair is dyed with henna. His body is strong and sturdy. He wears a white Punjabi style turban on his head, and socks and native shoes on his feet. He is about sixty-six years old. I observed that his disciples are greatly devoted tohim and strong in their faith. Many honorable guests were present during my stay there and I found them to be passionate in
their faith and devotion. A small example of Hazrat Mirza’s virtues is the statement he made to me at the end of my visit during which many kindnesses were shown to me. He said: “We give you permission to leave but only with this promise that you will come again and stay for two weeks at least.” His smiling countenance is still vividly present before my eyes! I returned from Qadian with the same degree of excitement and zeal that I had taken there — perhaps that same zeal may take me to Qadian again. Qadian has certainly understood and assimilated the following sentiment very well: “Have excellent morals even if you arewith unbelievers.”
Spring came again, and God’s word was again fulfilled —The earthquake of February 28, 1906
When Hazrat Mirza published his will on December 20, 1905, he men- tioned the prophecy about the earthquake in it as well. Hereferred to a recent revelation: Spring came again, and God’s word was again fulfilled, and stat- ed that God had informed him once morethat another severe earthquake was going to strike during the spring. He specified the period of spring to be from the end of January to theend of May. Accordingly, exactly during the middle of spring a severe earthquake hit the South American countries of Colombia and Ecuador on February 16, 1906. The earthquake destroyed many cities and resulted in the loss of hundreds of lives.
After that on February 28, 1906, another earthquake struck parts of Punjab at 1:20 A.M. The Civil and Military Gazette and other English news- papers admitted that the earthquake was of the same magnitude as the earthquake of April 4, 1905. The epicenterof the earthquake this time was in the mountains of Simla instead of Kangra. As such, the losses due to the earthquake were mostlyconfined to Eastern Punjab while Western and Central Punjab escaped relatively unscathed. Many towns, including Rampur in the Simlaarea, suffered destruction of property and life.
The newspaper Paisa Akhbar itself reported that in village Dodahpur located in Ambala district, all the residents of the village losttheir lives while they slept, except for three survivors. The paper also reported that in Terah village of Saharanpur district, a dry well was filled overnight with water. There were many other incidents of losses as well. Since Hazrat Mirza had already prophesied that agreat earthquake was imminent, the thought occurred to him and to his disciples that this was perhaps the earthquake that had been prophesied so forcefully and referred to as a picture of the Day of Judgment. Later on, however, he was informed through Divine revelation that this was not the promised earthquake reminiscent of doomsday. Instead, that would take place at a later date.
An announcement titled: Prophecy Regarding Earthquake
As a result of the aforementioned revelation, Hazrat Mirza immediate- ly published an announcement on March 2, 1906 that was titled, Prophecy Regarding Earthquake. The announcement began with the following verses:
Friends, arise! The earthquake is poised to strike again; God is about to manifest his power once more
As for the earthquake that you witnessed in February;
Know for sure that it is a mere reproof to make you understand
O friends! Remedy this with tears from your eyes; O oblivious people! The sky is about to rain fire.
The announcement then continued:
Dear friends! You witnessed the earthquake that struck after 1 A.M. on the night of February 28, 1906. This was the same earthquake about which God had said in His revelation: Spring came again, and God’s word was again fulfilled.
I had published this prophecy in my various announcements, in the newspapers Al-Hakam and Badar, and in the pamphlet Al-Wasiyyat on pages 3, 4, and 14. So all praise is due to Allah that this earthquake occurred exactly in the days of spring in accordance with theprophecy.
But today on the morning of March 1, 1906, God again revealed to me the following words: The earthquake is about to come.
It was also impressed upon my heart that the earthquake that is to be a reminder of Judgment Day has not yet struck but is about tocome, and the earth- quake which just occurred in accordance with the prophecy is only a precursor.
Just as I had stated aforetimein the pamphlet Al-Wasiyyat on pages 3, and 4, God has informed me of not one but many earthquakes. So this was the earthquake whose occurrence in the spring season was inevitable in accordance with the revelation of God, the Most High. And so it came… For this reason, I again inform you, and warn you, that in my best opinion that day is not far. Repent, and invigorate your heartswith consummate faith.
Hazrat Mirza later completed in his book titled Chashma-e-Masihi (The Messianic Brook) the poem whose first three verses werequoted above. Five additional verses of this poem are presented below as they are worthy of reflection:
The way of piety has been lost, so why should not earthquakes strike? A Muslim is now a Muslim only in name
I am tormented to see the affliction of faith;
But God’s hand shall now strengthen this heart of mine
Hence His honor shall now show you something; This tribulation shall spread its tentacles everywhere
The faith of Islam shall now be assisted by way of deaths; Otherwise, it seems that Islam may wither away any day
There was a time when an entire world was devoted to Islam; But now even an insignificant man stands ready to deny it.
A poetic prophecy regarding the earthquake
After that on March 31, 1906, Hazrat Mirza paid for the publication of a poem in the newspaper Paisa Akhbar, which had acirculation of a hundred thousand. In this poem, he versified the prophecy of the earthquake in very effective words. This poem was also included in the book Haqiqat-ul-Wahy published in 1907. A few verses of the poem are as follows:
Friends, the days of the earthquake are imminent; Days of an earthquake that shall bring about deaths
You are at ease, but what can I say about myself? Days of absolute terror loom before my eyes
How can strangers know what God’s honor shall bring about? God will Himself inform them on the day of telling
God shall show flashes of His sign five times;1
This is the Word of God; you will understand it when the day of reckoning arrives
My Friend, the solace of my soul;
Make that day to be the day of spreading the faith of Islam;
Bring about springtime again for the faith, my Beloved Powerful God; How long shall we see the waywardness of our people?
Enemies bask in the glory of the day, while night is upon us; My Sun, show us the days of the Faith’s radiance
My heart is stricken, and my life is in turmoil;
Please cast Your glance to herald the arrival of Your days
Please show Your visage that I should be freed from sorrow; How far will these long days of yearning stretch out?
Take note whose commotion is in Your alley;
O my Beloved, will You then only come the day I die?
Only Your hand can bring about change, my Beloved; Otherwise, Faith is a corpse, and these are days of its burial
Show some sign, because Faith has become lost; Bring quickly the days to strengthen this heart
I no longer have the power to be patient that I once possessed; My Beloved, bring about the days to comfort this heart
Who is crying that the sky cried with him?
A shudder passed over the earth on the day of his clamoring
The fire in my heart at last created an impression; The days of fanning the fire have arrived on the earth
My friends, that Beloved has seen the distress of the Faith; The days of this orchard’s verdure shall now soon arrive
For ages, unbelief was gnawing away at the faith of Islam;
Keep faith the days have arrived when unbelief shall be devoured
These days are difficult, and danger is ever present; But these are the days friends to find the Beloved
The heavens are astir with commotion for the assistance of the Faith; Autumn has departed, and the days to reap the fruits arehere
Eschew the tune that the heaven does not sing;
O people that are heedless, these are days to rejoice in the Faith
Through your envy and jealousy, you have lost the time to serve the Faith;
May you not lose, O People, these days to be contrite and remorseful.
The above is merely an excerpt, and the entire poem is worth studying. The verses are extremely telling, and show the great passion that Hazrat Mirza had for the dominance and propagation of Islam.
Tajalliyat-e-Elahiya (Manifestations of the Divine)
Prior to the publication of the aforementioned poem, Hazrat Mirza began writing a booklet on March 15, 1906, titled Tajalliyat-e-Elahiya. In this
book, he wanted to expound on the revealed prophecy whose words were: I will show you the flash of this sign five times. Also plannedfor the book, and partially completed, was a discourse upon the philosophy of prophesied tribu- lations. Alas, certain pressing matters drew his attention away from this undertaking, and only 32 pages of this book were actually written. The book was published in itsincomplete form after Hazrat Mirza’s death.
The prophecy regarding the earthquake was ultimately fulfilled in the form of the First World War
In those days, Hazrat Mirza was composing the fifth volume of Barahin Ahmadiyya. He included a poem in it in which hedescribed the fea- tures of the promised earthquake with such accuracy that the First World War flashes before the reader’s eyes. It appears as if the Holy Spirit was guiding his pen at the time of writing or that he was actually seeing the war in a vision. It should be remembered that any great tribulation that is associated with a big revolution is given the name earthquake in religious terminology.This promised earthquake or the First World War was depicted in this poem in the following way:
A sign will come some days hence,
Which will turn over villages, cities and fields.
Wrath of God will bring a revolution in the world, The undressed one would be unable to enrobe.
Suddenly a quake2 will severely shake, Mortals, trees, boulders, and seas, all.
In the twinkling of an eye, the land shall turn over, Streams of blood will flow like rivers of water.
Those who don robes white like jasmine at night, Morning will make them (red) like chinar trees.
- The revelations from God repeatedly had the word earthquake in it. Hazrat Mirza said: “The earthquake would be such that it would be a picture of Judgment Day. In fact, the earthquake of Judgment Day should be the one that the Chapter Al-Zilzal (The Shaking) describes as: When the earth is shakenwith her shaking (99:1).
- However, up till now I can- not say with complete certainty that it will literally be an earthquake. It is possible that it may not be anordinary earthquake but some other severe calamity that may be reminiscent of Judgment Day and whose like has never been seen in the present times and which will be destructive of buildings and lives. Yes! If some such miraculous sign does not appear and the people do not openly reform themselves either, then I stand to be called a fabrica- tor.” (Barahin Ahmadiyya Volume 5).
Men will be dazed, and birds will lose their senses, Pigeons and nightingales shall forget their songs all.
That moment, that time, will be hard upon every traveler, Wayfarers will lose their way as if they have lost their senses.
With blood of the dead, the running waters of the mountains, Will turn red, like red wine.
The terror of it will exhaust everyone, great and small, Even the Czar will be at that moment in a state of distress.
It will be a glimpse of wrath, that heavenly sign, The sky shall draw its dagger to attack.
But don’t be quick to deny, O unaware, ignorant one, My being truthful rests entirely on this.
A revelation from God, it shall come to pass for sure, Be patient for some days, as a pious, forbearing one.
Do not think that all this mistrust is pardoned; ’Tis but a loan, and shall be returned in the like.
Would anybody who saw what transpired in Europe during the First World War (1914 – 1918) deny that the preceding versespresent an accurate sketch of those events? How the conflagration spread across the entire continent of Europe, in the blink of an eye?
The Prime Minister of England, Mr. Asquith, and other leading politicians of the country tried hard. But their efforts were in vain, and they could not alter the events that God had des- tined.
The destruction that then visited cities, villages and the countryside was unimaginable. People felt that the very heaven had assaulted the earth with a drawn dagger. There was not a place where man did notslit the throat of man and strove to erase the existence of the other. As a result, rivers of blood flowed on a scale unprecedented in the history of the world. Peaceful residents of cities whose garments were white as jasmine at night, found them dyed red with their blood in the morning as a result of aerial bombard- ment by planes and zeppelins. The war spread its tentacles everywhere and became the scourge of life that spared no one be they jinn or men i.e., be they young or old, poor laborers or wealthy capitalists. Everyone was ener- vated by fear.
There was no tranquility for people dwelling in their homes or peace for the wayfarer. Every other day, brought news of passenger ships sunk on the high seas and households would erupt with wailing and mourn- ing. Thus, the situation wascataclysmic like doomsday.
Even birds were not safe. Aerial bombardment and gas attacks disori- ented the birds and they died by the thousands.Interestingly, one statement
made in Hazrat Mirza’s poem was: “Pigeons and nightingales shall forget their songs all.” In fact, pigeons experienced perhaps the greatest distress among birds because carrier pigeons were being used in the war to carry mes- sages, and soldiers especially hunted down pigeons to disrupt the enemy’s communications. Another couplet in Hazrat Mirza’s poem had stated:
The terror of it will exhaust everyone, great and small, Even the Czar will be at that moment in a state of distress.
It is surely a remarkable manifestation of God’s power that the Czar, the most powerful potentate, was the very person who suffered the greatest grief. The Czar enjoyed complete sovereignty, both temporally and spiritual- ly, over the entire Russian nation. He and his family were imprisoned, disgraced and finally shot, and the reign of the Czars ended forever.
In short, it is acknowledged by everyone – friend or foe, easterner or westerner – that the First World War presented a spectacle of Judgment Day on an unprecedented scale. The entire human history is unable to produce another event like it or even remotelylike it.
This mini-doomsday created such an amazing revolution in the world that it divided the annals of history into two eras – Pre World War I and Post World War I. Similarly, this war radically transformed the political geography of the world. A worldwide culturaland civilizational transformation took place, and an alteration also occurred in religious outlook — Europe’s love of Christianity wasconsiderably dimin- ished, and respect for Islam made inroads into the hearts and minds of people.
But this is not the end; Hazrat Mirza had announced based upon a rev- elation that, “He will show you the flash of this sign five times.” It appears from this that the FirstWorld War was the first jolt and perhaps four more such jolts will follow.3
The indifferent and negligent people of the world will then wake up; the rust on the hearts of the materialists will be dusted off and the world would then turn towards God and will find a cure fortheir nation- alist jealousies and enmities in the brotherhood and egalitarianism of Islam. This, God willing, would be the acceptanceof Hazrat Mirza’s heartfelt prayer, which he made so poignantly in humble supplication before God and finds expression in verses ofhis Persian poetry (included in his work titled
Chashma-e-Masihi published in 1906):
O God! May my entire existence be sacrificed for You; With your mercy, open unto me the door to every insight
The philosopher is foolish in seeking You merely on the basis of his intellect;
Your hidden way is far beyond man’s intellect
- See appendix to this chapter.
None of them know You;
Whoever came to know You, he was able to do so through Your immense benevolence
You bless your devotees with both the worlds;
But, both the worlds have no significance in the eyes of your servants.
Cast a glance of Grace, so that the warfare may cease;
Humanity stands in need of the arguments that support the proof of Your existence
Do manifest some sign so that this world may be suffused with Your brilliance;
Whereby every denier of Islam shall instead become Your devotee
I shall not grieve if the world gets destroyed;
What grieves me is lest Your radiant way becomes concealed
Dialogue and debate in the matter of faith are aggravating;
Do manifest some glorious signs whereby this affair is facilitated
Jolt the very nature of the enemies with an upheaval; So that they become fearful, and turn to You
Do commence a fountain of mercy behind the facade of this upheaval; Till when shall this grieving man endure being seared bythe flames of sorrow?
There is no doubt that one of the jolts of the promised five earthquakes is the terrible war in Europe that is currently taking place in 1940. Hazrat Mirza stated:
God shall show flashes of His sign five times;
This is the Word of God; You will understand it when the day of reck- oning arrives
The fire in my heart at last created an impression; The days of fanning the fire have arrived on the earth
You are at ease, but what can I say about myself? Days of absolute terror loom before my eyes
These days are difficult, and danger is ever present; But these are the days friends to find the Beloved
Further, Hazrat Mirza wrote in Haqiqat-ul-Wahy:O Europe, you are not at peace. O Asia! You are not safe either. O denizens of the islands! No artificial god will help you – I see cities falling down and find habitations deserted.
- Hazrat Mirza stated: “The actual words of God, the Most High, that were revealed to me were: I will show you the flash of this sign five times.” That is, there will be five episodes of extraordinarily severe earthquakes that will be unparalleled in their intensity.