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August 19th, 2013

Is a fasting Muslim closer to Allah than the prophet Moses?

Recently I heard a hadith about fasting being quoted on a Muslim television channel, which I then traced to several Muslim websites and forums. It runs as follows:

Once Musa asked Allah: “O Allah! You have granted me the honour and privilege of talking to you directly, have you given this privilege to any other person?" Allah ta’ala replied

"O Musa, during the last period I am going to send an ummat who will be the ummat of Mohammad (SAW) with dry lips, patched tongues, emaciated body with their eyes sunken deep into their sockets, with livers dry and stomachs suffering the pangs of hunger [during fasting] will call out to me (in dua) they will be much much closer to me than you. O Musa! While you speak to me there are 70000 veils between you and me but at the time of iftaar there will not be a single veil between me and the fasting ummati of Mohammad (SAW). O Musa I have taken upon myself the responsibility that at the time of iftaar I will never refuse the dua of a fasting person!”

Various contributors on the above forums have discussed whether this hadith is authentic and what is its original source. There are some authentic hadith mentioning the excellence of certain members of the Muslim ummah over prophets. The following is reported from Umar:

“Among the servants of God there are persons who, although they are not prophets or martyrs, yet the prophets and the martyrs will envy their ranks from God, on the Day of Judgment.” (Mishkat-ul-Masabih, Book of Manners (Adab), Section 2.)

This is related to the concept known as juz’i fazilat, or superiority in part or in certain respects of a Muslim over prophets before the Holy Prophet Muhammad.

I once read in a newspaper in Pakistan (I have kept the cutting somewhere) that more people were brought to Islam by Hazrat Muin-ud-Din Chishti, saint of Ajmer, than by any prophet.

One example, often cited in classical Islamic works, of a non-prophet excelling a prophet is from the Quran, 18:60–82, of the man to whom Moses went to gain knowledge. This man, known as Khadir or Khidr, was superior to Moses in knowledge. In his book Haqiqat-ul-Wahy, when Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad writes that his superiority over Jesus is due to the fact that he is follower of a Prophet sent for the reform of all mankind and thus he possesses the message required for the reform of all mankind, while Jesus came only for a particular people and therefore would not be able to address the whole world, he adds at this point a footnote:

"No one can encompass the works of God. Among the Israelites, Moses was a very great prophet who was given the Torah by God … yet it was the same Moses who had to face embarrassment before the spiritual knowledge of a recluse [i.e. Khidr] and he could not fathom those secrets of the unseen…" (Ruhani Khaza'in, v. 22, p. 157)

It is clear that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad has added this example to show that his having a superiority over Jesus does not mean that he is a prophet.

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