Two types of people populate the earth: those who make themselves and those who make history. History-making individuals are rare to come by. They are dominated by the desire to fulfill a noble goal. They think less about personal comforts. They reflect more on the common goal. Profit in worldly pursuits does not appeal to them. They stand by lofty principles and pursue them to a logical conclusion. They are the movers of events. They are the newsmakers. They are the cream of Allah’s creation. (Timehin, Saheed O, In Search of Peace, 2010, p. 76)
Arguably, one of the greatest historical personalities that moved events and shaped the course of human and global development and history in the 20th Century was Hadhrat Mirza Bashirud-Din Mahmud Ahmad [ra]. A revolutionary figure whom the Celestial Will decreed to be the Divine Voice Articulate in and Islamic Reformer for an age that was characterized by the socio-political and religious decline of the Muslim world vis-a-vis the global imperialism of the Western world.
Born on 12th January, 1889, in Qadian, India, his historic advent in the cosmic terrain was pre-natally announced by his father, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad [as], the Promised Messiah and Mahdi and Founder of the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, via a grand prophecy published on 20th February 1886, that reads in part thus:
“Rejoice, therefore, that a handsome and pure boy will be bestowed on thee……He will be characterized by grandeur, greatness and wealth. He will come into the world and will heal many of their ills through his Messianic qualities and through the blessings of the Holy Spirit….. Son, a delight of the heart, high ranking, noble; a manifestation of the First and the Last, a manifestation of the True and the High; as if Allah has descended from heaven…… His fame will spread to the ends of the earth and people will be blessed through him. He will then be raised to a spiritual station in heaven. This is a matter decreed.” (Ahmad, Mirza Ghulam, The Announcement, 20 February 1886; Riyad-e-Hind Newspaper, Amritsar, 1st March 1886)
This prediction aptly ratifies the original prophecy made by the Holy Prophet of Islam [saw] concerning the Messiah promised to the Muslim world of the end times that, “He shall marry and have children”(Mishkat Al-Masabih by Muhammad Abdullah Al-Khatib, Al-Tibrizi). Espousing this Prophetic prophecy, the Promised Messiah [as] himself wrote, “The Holy Prophet [saw] made a prophecy on the basis of revelation from the Almighty Allah that the Promised Messiah would marry and would have offspring. This indicates that Allah the Al-Mighty would grant him a son who would be similar to his father in goodness, and would not differ from him. That son would be among the righteous servants of Allah.” (Aina-e-Kamalat-e-Islam, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 5, p. 578)
It is interesting to recall that on the night of 5th and 6th January, Allah Al-mighty informed Hadhrat Mirza Bashirud-Din Mahmud Ahmad [ra] through a vision that he was the Muslih Mau’ud [the Promised Reformer] whose prophecy was published on 20th February 1886. His Holiness was staying at the house of Shaikh Bashir Ahmad Sahib at 13, Temple Road, Lahore Pakistan. On 28th January 1944, during the Friday sermon, he [ra] made the historic announcement that the prophecy regarding ‘Muslih Mau’ud’ had been fulfilled in his person and told the Jamaat about his vision. (Centenary Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya, 2008, Tahrik Jadid Anjuman Ahmadiyya, p.119)
True, by ascending from being the president of an Ahmadiyya youth organization at a tender age of 10 in 1899, to becoming the founder of the Tashhidhul Adhhan [a literary guild and magazine] at 11 in 1900; the Khalifatul Masih 11 and Supreme Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community at 25 in 1914; the author of hundreds of multi-disciplinary literary works and genres the quality and value of which are of a transcendental proportion; and the builder of scores of socio-religious and educational institutions and schemes, the Promised Reformer’s dynamic life was, by all standards, an embodiment of the Divine Manifestation. Without a doubt, the exponential achievements that hallmarked his extraordinary life and the far-reaching impacts they had had, and still continue to have on the human life and world will continue to shape the socio-religious landscape and texture of vast sections of the human world in our postmodern times.
Impressively, on the occasion of Annual Conference of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Pakistan, in 1961, the Promised Reformer made the following historic declaration about himself thus:
“I declare, depending on the favours and blessings of Allah, that my name shall be preserved in the world forever. Although I will die one day, my name shall never be erased from history. This is a decree of Allah.”
“If not today, then after forty years or fifty years, or maybe after hundred years, history will decide itself whether this statement is right or wrong. No doubt I will not be present that time, but one thing is for certain, that whenever the history of Islam and Ahmadiyya is going to be written, then every Muslim historian will be duty-bound and compelled to mention my name in that history. History will not be completed without the mention of my achievements.” (Rasheed, Ataul Mumin, Achievements of the Promised Reformer, in: The Review of Religions, February 2002, Vol. 97, Issue 2, p 23)
True to the above compelling words, no sooner did he pass away on November 8, 1965, than the chroniclers of historical events began to acknowledge his historicity in the collective history of the human world. For instance, on 16 November 1965, under the caption, ‘A Great Nation Builder’, Maulana Muhammad Yaqoob Khan, who was the Editor of The Light, documented the following impressive tribute to the Promised Reformer:
“The death of Mirza Basheer-ud-Deen Mahmud Ahmad, head of the Ahmadiyya Movement, rang the curtain down on a most eventful career, packed with a multitude of far-reaching enterprises. A man of versatile genius and dynamic personality, there was hardly any sphere of contemporary thought and life during the past century from religious scholarship to missionary organization, even political leadership, on which the deceased did not leave a deep imprint.” (Rasheed, Ataul Mumin, ibid, p. 22)
As the sun of this year’s February 20th rises and the global world wakes to commemorate and reflect upon the various aspects of the life and personality of this historical icon, particularly, the outstanding spiritual, temporal and historical meaning, essence and reality which he represents, with a view to deriving inspiration and sense of direction in all facets of human endeavour, we pray may the expanse of Allah’s light, pleasure and blessings eternally be upon him, and may humanity be enabled to live up to realizing the Divine Will and Intention behind his advent in the world and be the inheritors of their divine fruits. Amin