Quran was a vital part of Hazrat Mirza’s life
Hazrat Mirza’s profound love of the Quran is a phenomenon that was extraordinary in those times. Since his earliest days, he had an exceptional attachment to the Quran, which he studied day and night. Factually, it can be stated that the study of the Quran was an integral part of his life. He spent most of his time reciting the Quran, and the recitation continued whether he was sitting, standing or strolling. He would be so moved by reading the Quran that he would shed tears uncontrollably.
He prayed earnestly to God to grant him knowledge of the Quran and pleaded with streaming eyes in prostration for this understanding. If a verse was difficult, he kept the verse in his mind and prayed humbly and earnestly to God to grant him full understanding of the wisdom and truth immanent therein. Hecontinued supplicating till such time that he was granted this understanding.
Only God knows the number of times Hazrat Mirza recited the Quran in its entirety, but according to his son, Mirza Sultan Ahmad, it must be over a thousand times. Maulvi Muhammad Ali has a copy of the Quran that Hazrat Mirza studied for seventeen years. His repeated readings have literally worn out the pages! In its margins are to be found, in Hazrat Mirza’s own handwriting, the enu- merations of Quranic commands and prohibitions.
Hazrat Mirza’s father once called Hazrat Mirza’s valet, Mirza Ismail, and asked him: “Tell me about your Mirza; what does he do with his time?” Mirza Ismail replied: “He keeps studying the Quran.” Hazrat Mirza’s father then asked him: “Does he ever stop?” In other words, Hazrat Mirza’s father wanted to know if he ever took a break from the reading or just went on reading and never stopped.
The Quran was dearer to him than his own children
Hazrat Mirza’s sense of honor for the Quran overshadowed even the love of his own children. Hazrat Mirza’s son Mirza Mubarak Ahmad, who was a mere child at the time and very dear to him, committed some act that showed disrespect for the Quran. Although Hazrat Mirza was strongly opposed to the striking of children, he was moved so uncontrollably by the disrespectful act that he spontaneously slapped his son across the face so that the child’s face turned red, and he remarked: “Take him out of my sight. If this is his condition now, what will he do later?” If one of Hazrat Mirza’s dis- ciples brought his child to greet Hazrat Mirza, he would enquire first of all: “Have you read the Quran?” This shows that Hazrat Mirza accorded thehighest priority to the study of the Quran in the education of children.
His invocation was the Quran
The Sufis have contrived a variety of techniques, such as seclusion for mystic communion, incantations, and recitals, for purifying the soul. But Hazrat Mirza’s invocation was always the Quran. There came a time in his life too when he sequestered himself to strive for even higher echelons of spirituality, and this sequestered striving was several months long.
Yet, during this striving too, his only practice was to pray to God, to keep fasts, and to study the Quran. Thus, Hazrat Mirza showed by his example that if a Muslim desires to undertake a striving, or feels the need for a hard mystic exercise to purify the soul, then that striving or the hard mysticexercise must be the study of the Quran and deliberating on its meaning.
This paradigm is worthy of being written in letters of gold inthe history of mysticism, because Hazrat Mirza introduced a new chapter in mystic striving which is complete- ly in accord with the commandments of God and His Messenger. And certainly there can be no better way to strive or conduct a mystic exercise than tostudy the Quran.
Love of the Quran
Love of the Quran deeply permeated Hazrat Mirza’s being. Along with expressing love for Allah and Prophet Muhammad — whichis commonplace for the lovers of God and His Messenger — he has also expressed his love for the Quran in his poetry. And according to the famous poet-philosopher, Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, this is a unique distinction of Hazrat Mirza, that is not met with in anyone else throughout the Islamic history as well as the present times.
By way of an example, a few verses from select poems of Hazrat Mirza arepresented to illustrate his love of the Quran.
Interested readers who desire to see the full version of Hazrat Mirza’s poems are referred to Durr- e-Sameen which is an anthology of all the poems of Hazrat Mirza:
• Excerpt 1
The beauty and grace of the Quran are the inner light of every Muslim; For others the moon is beautiful, for us it is the Quran
An eternal spring is borne upon its every verse;
This quality is absent from every other garden of enlightenment
Angels acknowledge their ignorance before its splendor; There is no man who can match its eloquence
How can man’s word compare to the Word of God?
There we witness power, here we see powerlessness, and the distinc- tion between the two is evident.
• Excerpt 2
The brilliance of the Quran has outshone every light; Holy is He from Whom this river of light proceeded forth
The sapling of the Unity of God had almost withered away; When this pure brook presently sprang forth from theUnseen
O Lord! This Quran is veritably a universe unto itself; All that was needed, it can be found within its pages
Searched the world, and gleaned through all shops;
The Quran emerged as the vial containing the essence of enlightenment
Hitherto, we had deemed Moses’ staff to be the Furqan (the Discrimination);
Then, upon reflection, every word (of the Quran) emerged as Messianic.
• Excerpt 3
Dear friends! Remember that without the Quran; Man can never find the truth
As for those who are unaware of this light; Then they do not attract Allah’s attention
Quran possesses this amazing quality;
That it imbues the reader with the love of God
The One Whose name is the Mighty, the Great; It gives indisputable news of His existence
Every moment, it fills the mind with enlightenment; Cleansing the heart so peerlessly
How can I relate all of its sterling qualities? Simply stated, it gives life to life
The Quran is truly an ocean of wisdom; Giving us the drink of the love of truth
The Quran is the only balm for the soul that hurts; It is from God, and it alone leads man to God
We found it to be the only impeccable source of guidance; We discerned it as the only love of our heart
What the deniers of the Quran allege; Is mere nonsense, and nothing more
It would be good if they come to me; And repeat those allegations to my face
They could listen to my narrative of the Quran’s remarkable nature; My expression for its beauty and its grace
If they can’t see, I wish that they might at least listen; Or let it just be a test of my patience
• Excerpt 4
Our gratitude is to the Beneficent God Who gave us the Quran;
While flower buds had previously existed, this is the one that truly blossomed
I have studied the other religious works, and found them all akin to abbreviated dreams;
They are quite vacuous, whereas the Quran provides firm enlighten- ment
The Quran helped us to find God;
The utter darkness passed, and the day has now dawned
They say that the beauty of Joseph was remarkable; Yet the excellence of the Quran is truly superlative
Joseph fell into a well, as you have heard,
It is the call of this Quran that rescues one from the well
My heart’s desire every moment is to kiss Your Book,
To walk in reverence around the Quran, for this is my Kabah.
• Excerpt 5
It is a unique quality of the Quran;
That every principle presented therein is proved by supporting argu- ments
It is the shining beacon that illuminates the path of righteousness; By God, it is superior to the Sun that blazes gloriously inthe skies.
• Excerpt 6
The Glorified Quran is the blazing sun of knowledge and faith;
It shall take you away from doubt, and towards spiritual conviction
The Quran is God’s sturdy rope;
It shall pull you to the Lord of the Heavens and the earth
The Quran is a bright and shining day from God; Whereby your spiritual eyes will be blessed with light
God has revealed this peerless Book;
So that it may take you to the Pure and Glorious God.
• Excerpt 7
The radiant morning has arisen because of the pure light of the Quran;
The morning breeze has begun to advance softly over the flowers of the heart
Such light and brilliance cannot be found even in the blazing sun at midday;
Such great appeal and splendor is not present even in the elegant moonlight
While Joseph was alone in falling to the bottom of the well;
This Joseph (the Quran is implied here) has pulled many out of the well
This fountainhead of true insights has brought along with it hundreds of gems of wisdom;
The back of the delicate moon crescent has bent under the weight of these profound gems of edification
What then do you know of the majestic essence and reality of the knowledge innate in the Quran?
It is heavenly nectar that has trickled forth from Divine revelations
Since that time when this sun of truths emerged;
The owls, those worshippers of nightfall, have waddled away into their nooks
There is none in this world who can be blessed with sighting and iden- tifying the visage of conviction;
Excepting the person who cherishes the visage of the Quran
He who became a scholar of the Quran, he himself then became a treasure-trove of enlightenment;
He who has not witnessed the unbounded realm of the Quran, he does not know anything of this world either
O lode of splendor! I know with Whom you are associated;
You are the light from that God Who is the Author of all creation
I have disassociated myself from everyone, and now this Book is my beloved;
Because this light is from that God Who dispenses justice to all.
• Excerpt 8
God’s revelation has inexorably led to the brightness of the resplendent morning;
Those eyes have beheld nothing that have not seen these blessed pages
My heart has been pervaded with the fragrance of the Quran; And the Friend Who had gone away from us has nowreturned
Those eyes that have not been illumined by the essence of the Quran’s radiance;
By God, they shall never find relief from spiritual gloom and darkness.
• Excerpt 9
The blessed Quran is an immaculate tree from God
That is beautiful, true to its essence, abounding in leaves, that provides comforting shade
If you don’t believe in the wondrous qualities of the Magnified Quran;
Then ask those who are aware of its beauty, or go forth and investigate for yourself.
• Excerpt 10
O you who has turned his face away from the Quran; And instead placed a foot in the ditch of rebellion
Don’t boast arrogantly in the face of the Guiding light; Repent from this behavior of ridicule and mockery
How unseeing and damned is that eye;
In which the sun of spirituality appears as if it were a mere speck
The Quran then is the lantern of guidance for the entire world; It is the beacon of guidance for the entire humanity
It is a mercy from God, for this world;
It is a blessing for mankind from the heavens
The Quran is the treasure of Divine enlightenment; It is from God an instrument for recognizing God
The gems of enlightenment within its pages are truly magnificent; My soul and my existence are devoted to the Quran.
There are scores of verses filled with the love of Quran that emanated from the heart and pen of Hazrat Mirza. Reading theseverses, one is amazed by the profoundness of the love that this saint harbored for the Quran. Here was a person who indefatigably portrayed the beauty inherent in the Quran, a person whose poetry in praise of the Quran could easily fill an entire book.
If a person, whose own love of the Quran sparked a similarly glowing love in the hearts and minds of thousands of others, is a liar and an enemy of the Quran, as is claimed by his opposing clerics who label him an unbeliever, then where should one search for truth and loyalty? And what are the signs of true love and adoration? Is there a wise person who will reflect on this?
Obedience to the Quran
The love of Quran was not only upon Hazrat Mirza’s lips, and in his heart, but was obvious from his actions. All his words anddeeds were replete with the reflection of obedience to the Quran. He expressed this in these verses:
To digress even a step from this illuminated Book, Is to me the same as unbelief, loss, and destruction.
Arguments in support of the Quran’s veracity
Just as Hazrat Mirza himself loved the Quran, he wanted the whole world to be devoted to it, and he made an effort day and nightto achieve this end. He expressed this longing in a poem; a few verses from it are reproduced below:
Alas, the beauty of the Quran’s countenance did not remain manifest to the people;
The fact is that the Quran’s splendor is plainly evident, but those who value it are no more
People ask where are its miracles, the miracles are here;
What grieves me is that those who could recognize its miracles are no more
I observe that every man is engrossed in his personal worries;
But there is none who is concerned about the propagation of the Quran
I am one whose existence has been charred to a cinder by worry and grief for this Holy Book;
I have been so profoundly burned by this anxiety that there does not appear any hope that I shall remain alive
I would dance hundreds of times with happiness;
If I were to see that the graceful beauty of the Quran is not concealed any more
O Lord! Is it my fate alone to grieve with sorrow for the Quran?
Or is there anyone besides me, in this era, who is aware of the reality?
O fellow man! The pleasures of life last for only a few days; There is none who has abided in this world forever
If your heart does not grieve for the Quran today;
Then there shall not remain any excuse for you when you appear before God
Eschew the reading of Masnavi and the pastime of verse and poetry;
What significance do these have when you do not appreciate the Quran any more?
You are pampered when you sit in the company of your servants; As for the true Lord, there is none who serves Him
O unaware man! Get ready for the service of the Quran; Before you hear the announcement that so and so has died.
Hazrat Mirza did not confine this passion to merely writing poetry, but he made the service of the Quran his norm. In fact, his first momentous work of prose, Barahin Ahmadiyya, was a treatise of powerful, scholarly, and decisive arguments in support of the Quran andProphet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that established the superiority of Islam over all other religions.
In fact, the full title of the book is: Al-Barahin Al-Ahmadiyya Ala Haqiqat Kitab Allah Al-Quran Wa Nabuwwat Al-Muhammadiyya (The Ahmadiyya Proofs For The Truth Of The Book Of God, The Quran, And The Prophethood Of Muhammad). Besides writing this momentous book, Hazrat Mirza devoted his life to the service of the Quran by delivering lectures, and writing and publishing books,tracts, and announcements.
Established the greatness of the Quran in confrontations with opponents
Hazrat Mirza proved the supremacy of the Quran with such great skill in his confrontations with the opponents of Islam, renderingthem speechless, that no similar example can be found in the work of other scholars of Islam. Hazrat Mirza would challenge his opponentsby putting three issues before them and asking them to evaluate their scriptures on any one of these measures:
- The Quran is a compendium of all religious truths, and no religious truth that is present in any scripture, or which can be conceived by the human intellect can be presented that does not exist in the Quran. And every religious truth that is found in the Quran is in its most complete and perfect form.
- The Quran refutes all false beliefs that are to be found in any nation of the world.
- The Quran presents arguments in support of all the claims that it makes.
Here I would like to pose a question to every virtuous person: Is it not a grave injustice to brand as an enemy of Islam a personwho manifested this greatness of the Quran, and not only merely manifested it, but also furnished evidence to prove it beyond any doubt.
At a time when the only use the general Muslim populace had for the Quran was to put it in a place of veneration in their homes, or at the most to recite it for blessing, Hazrat Mirza was the person who proved that the Book of Allah was the most efficacious weapon in the battle of the religions. What is the remedy then for the ingratitude of the so-called Muslim scholars who branded him an unbelieverand an enemy of Islam?
Proved the Quran to be a book of knowledge and wisdom
Hazrat Mirza not only demonstrated the greatness of the Quran in his confrontations with adherents of other religions, but also proved it to be a Book of great knowledge and wisdom that provided the remedy for all doubts and objections created by secular education and atheism. Hazrat Mirza also demonstrated that the greatness of the Quran would become even more manifest with theprogress in knowledge and science in the world.
Solved the religious problems of the Muslims through the Quran
Just as Hazrat Mirza definitively settled the matter with the religions of the world through the Quran, he also pointed out that the Quran should be the basis for resolving the internal religious differences of the Muslims. He suggested drawing from a ranked system of sources for resolving the differences. At the top of the list is the Quran which takes precedence over all other sources.
Next in importance are the books of Hadith and these should be accepted to the extent that they are not contrary to the teachings of the Quran.Ijtihad (exercise of judgment) should be accepted to the extent that it does not conflict with the Quran and the Hadith. In this way, Hazrat Mirza drew attention of the Muslim nation to the greatness of the Quran that it rightly deserves.
Remedy of the temporal problems of Muslims also in the Quran
Not only did Hazrat Mirza establish the fact that the religious problems of the Muslims could be solved through the Quran, he also showed that the solution for the temporal difficulties of the Muslims resulting from worldly struggles was also to be found in the Quran.
He clearly demonstrated that the way for Muslims to advance and to excel over other nations was through making the Quran their guiding light. He stated that the Quranic guidance was based on eternal truths. Just as the Muslims of bygone eras succeeded in the world by making the Quran their primary source of guidance, in a like manner, the success of the Muslims of the present era isassociated with the Quran. In this way, Hazrat Mirza drew the attention of the Muslims to the necessity that every Muslim should read the Quran, understand it, try to act on it, and seek guidance from the light of the Quran for all spiritual and temporal difficulties.
Gave currency to waging Jihad with the Quran
It was Hazrat Mirza’s practice that when the need arose to write on a topic of great importance, he would keep the issue in mind and read the entire Quran so as to gain guidance and enlightenment from the Quran on the subject. As he read, he noted the verses thatcast a light on the topic. This was also the advice he had for the entire Muslim nation i.e., to resort to the Quran for every problem. He counseled that any argument they put forward should be from the Quran because Divine arguments cannot be rebutted. In other words, the weapon of choice to battle the forces of evil and disbelief is the Quran. The Quran itself advocates this strategy in the verse: “Strive against them (unbelievers) a mighty striving with it (the Quran).” (25:52). In other words, Quran is that invincible weapon that Muslims should take into battle against the forces of evil. In an era dominated by forces of unbelief, giving currency to jihad with the Quran was a grand achievement of Hazrat Mirza. His victories are as unmistakable as the light of day — nefarious forces everywhere were uprooted by the religious literature produced by Hazrat Mirza and his disciples.
United the Muslims through Jihad with the Quran
Hazrat Mirza united the Muslims by getting them involved in jihad with the Quran. He stated that internecine disputes about minor points of jurisprudence were weakening and destroying the Muslim community. Differences of opinion on issues, in fact, provide evidence about the accom- modating nature of Islam. To fight about minor points, such as whether amen should be said aloud orsilently, or whether the hands should be raised or not raised every time the takbir (Allah is Great) is recited in prayers is just plain wrong.
The differences on these issues merely reflectvarying options that are available to the worshipper. If someone prefers to observe one practice about a minor matter about which there is a dispute, then his right to choose must be respected, and similarly that person should respect, and not fight about the other’s right to choose a different practice. If a person can make another individual conform to his practice through discussion, then there is no harm in it.
But to convert the accommodating nature of Islam into a narrow fanatical viewpoint, and then to fight about it and create disunity among the Muslims is a grave mistake. This is a time when Islam and Muslims are under assault by the unbelievers. Therefore, since Muslims are already united and agree upon matters of principle, they should form a united front against the enemies of Islam, and with the Quran in their hand as the weapon of choice, they should join the jihad.
Thus, Hazrat Mirza turned the attention of Muslims away from inter- nal differences about minor points and towards striving with the Quran against the enemies of Islam. He saved the Muslims from dissipating their energies on internal wrangling and directed their efforts against the enemies of Islam. If all the Muslims begin to act according to this principle, their dissensions will disappear, better days will dawn for Islam, and the assault of the unbelievers will cease. The Mujaddid of the era has shown the way — now it is up to the Muslims to act upon it.
Laid the foundation for promoting study of the Quran among the Muslim public
Hazrat Mirza established the Quran as the means to achieving spiritual purification. He pronounced striving with the Quran as the primary goal of a Muslim’s life. He also instilled love of the Quran in the hearts and minds of people, and showed that all other religionswere rendered powerless before the unparalleled excellence of the Quran. He also proclaimed the Quran as containing the solutions to the temporal and spiritual problems of the Muslims.
But his work did not end here. In addition to these achievements, Hazrat Mirza laid the foundation for popularizing the Quran among the Muslims. He approached this task from two angles. First, he made Quraniceducation accessible through his books, magazines, and tracts. Second, he laid such a strong foundation for instituting Quran study sessions in his organization that they have become an integral part of the lives of its members. Wherever there is a branch of theAhmadiyya organization, there is a program for Quran study as well. In fact, seeing this example of the Ahmadi Muslims, non-AhmadiMuslims have also begun this practice in some places.
Gave rules for interpreting the Quran — Judgment on decisive vs allegorical verses, and abrogation
The disagreements and errors in the interpretation of the Quran by the commentators have resulted because of a lack ofdifferentiating between alle- gorical and decisive verses.1
Hazrat Mirza’s instruction in the matter, which was fully congruent with the instruction in the Quran, was that in order to understand allegorical verses, they should be made subordinate to decisive verses. The decisive verses are the essence, and constitute the bedrock of beliefs. If this rule of interpretation is followed, there will never be any deviation from the correct teachings of the Quran. As a result of this style of interpretation, Hazrat Mirza’s own commentary of theQuran was so rational that even dissenters and heretics had to acknowledge its excellence.
In this process Hazrat Mirza also settled the issue of abrogation. He announced that no verse of the Quran is abrogated. The problem of abroga- tion stemmed from the inability of commentators to reconcile the meaning of certain pairs of verses. Whenever a commentator was unable to reconcile two verses, he would declare one verse to be annulling the other verse (nasikh), which was then considered as annulled (mansukh). This practice did not have any support from the Books of Hadith because there is not a single hadith of Prophet Muhammad in which he declared any verse of the Quran abrogated. The proponents of this practice, however, have tried tofind support from certain verses of the Quran, but those verses actually refer to the abrogation of previous scriptures and not to the abrogation of verses of the Quran. Hazrat Mirza and his disciples actually reconciled all the verses of the Quran con- sidered byprevious commentators as irreconcilable, and thus made the matter perfectly clear. They showed that neither is any verse of the Quranabrogated, nor is any verse of the Quran annulled for purpose of recitation while reading the Quran. The latter view, a very erroneousone, unfortunately prevailed among certain clerics.
Translation and dissemination of the Quran among non-Muslims
Hazrat Mirza not only made the study of the Quran popular among the Muslims, but he also wanted to convey the message of theHoly Book to non- Muslim nations for which he laid the foundation for its translation into foreign languages. Without a doubt, the various dignitaries of Islam have rendered valuable services to the Quran and have written commentaries on it. Besides Arabic, the Quran had been translated into Urdu and Persian, but these efforts were confined to the requirements of the Muslim community. The need of the time was to win over non-Muslims through the Quran so that Islam could begin its forward marchagain. So Hazrat Mirza laid the founda- tion for this among the Muslims. In Izala Auham, the first book in which he thoroughly argued his claim to be the Promised Messiah, he also wrote: “It is my heartfelt desire to prepare a translation and commentary of the Quran in English and to disseminate it in the West.” This desire of Hazrat Mirza was fulfilled by his disciples. Today, as a result of Hazrat Mirza’s inspiration, the Quran has been translated not only into English but many other languages of the world, for example, Dutch, German, Chinese, Gurmukhi, and Hindi. The grand objective that Hazrat Mirza’s organization has set for itself is to translate the Quran intoevery language of the world and to carry its message to the people of all nations.
A question for fair-minded people
Now I would like to ask all possessors of spiritual insight and fair minds whether a person who has rendered so much service tothe Quran, who ascribed the highest priority to the Quran for purifying one’s soul, who demonstrated that jihad should be waged with the Quran, who selected the Quran for the expression of his love, who demonstrated the Quran to be the guiding light for spiritual and temporal difficulties, who laid the foundation of Quran study classes in hundreds of locations, who manifested the greatness of the Quran in a manner that the nations of the world were subdued by his logic, is this person a lover of the Quran or its enemy?
Do you not reproach all those who brand such a lover of the Quran and a servant of Islam as an unbeliever and a liar, and ridicule him? “I exhort you only to one thing, that you rise up for Allah’s sake by twos and singly, then ponder!…” (34:46). This verse of the Quran exhorts the reader to ponder collectively in groups and individually in solitude on this matter and to try to reach an even-handed decision. May Allah guideus all to the straight path. Amen. Is there someone who will reflect upon the following verses of Hazrat Mirza that he composed with profound sentiments?
We hold the beliefs of Muslims;
From the depth of our hearts, we are servants of the Seal of prophets
We loathe idolatry and innovations in religion; We are the dust upon the path of the Prophet
We believe in all the prescribed religious commandments; We give our body and soul in this way
Having relinquished our heart, only this body of clay remains, Now the desire is to devote that as well
You apply to us the epithet of unbeliever;
O people! Why do you not fear God’s retribution?
The Goal of his life
Hazrat Mirza has himself stated the goal of his life in a pair of poetic verses — they are sufficient for an intelligent person to discern the true state of affairs. He says:
May my life be sacrificed in the path of the religion of Prophet Muhammad;
This is the essence of my most heartfelt wish, if so be my good fortune
- There are two kinds of verses in the Quran, namely, the decisive and the allegorical — the latter being those which are capable of different interpretations. The decisive verses are the basis of the Quran and contain the fundamental principles of religion. Some people seek to give their own interpretation to allegorical statements and are thus misled. See verse 3:7 of the Holy Quran. — Translator