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English translations of books by Hazrat Mirza

Testimony of the Holy Quran

Translator's Foreword
Introductory Note by the Translator
Ch. 1: Reliability of Hadith
Ch. 2: Promised Messiah in the Holy Quran
(a): Signs of the Last Days
(b): Islamic Khilafat on lines of Israelite Prophethood
(c): Saints -- Living Examples of Spiritual Experience
(d): Summary of Arguments
Ch. 3: Proof of being Promised Messiah

End of Contents

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Chapter 2 (b)

Promised Messiah in the Quran

Part (b)

Islamic Khilafat on Lines of Israelite Prophethood


Holy Prophet Muhammads likeness to Moses / Like of Jesus in the nation of the Like of Moses / Muslim saints in place of Israelites prophets / Khalifas to be raised among Muslims / Khalifas not only from the Companions / Holy Quran addresses ancient Israelites as "you" / Coming Jesus is not previous Jesus / Use of min-kum in the Quran / Some examples / Reason why min-kum occurs in this verse / Min-kum usually refers to all Muslims / Commandments addressed to Companions meant for all / Was khilafat to last only thirty years /
Holy Prophet Muhammad’s likeness to Moses

Besides these verses, there are many other passages in the Holy Quran proving the coming of this last age and the Promised Messiah. However, the derivation of their meanings is a subtle matter, and therefore a person of superficial understanding cannot turn to them, nor can coarse perception reach these fine points. Among these verses is the following:

"Surely We have sent to you a Messenger, a witness to you, as [kama] We sent a messenger to the Pharoah." (73:15)

Now obviously the word kama [as] indicates that our Holy Prophet, may peace and the blessings of God be upon him, is the LIKE OF MOSES. Hence in the Torah, in the book of Deuteronomy, the Holy Prophet Muhammad is described as the like of Moses. It is obvious that by likeness is meant complete likeness, not imperfect likeness. For if only imperfect likeness is meant, in that case there does not remain any distinctiveness of the Holy Prophet because many prophets could be found having such a likeness, as those who raised the sword under God’s command and fought battles like Moses had done and won remarkable victories. Can they fulfil this prophecy? Most certainly not.

In short, our Holy Prophet can only have a distinction if likeness means perfect likeness. And from among the great aspects of perfect likeness, one is that, having bestowed upon Moses His messengership, God then instituted in his law a long chain of temporal as well as spiritual successorship, by way of reward and favour, which continued for about fourteen hundred years, and ended with Jesus. In this while, hundreds of kings and recipients of Divine revelation were born in the Mosaic order, and God ever kept on helping the supporters of the Mosaic law in such a miraculous way that all these events were preserved in history as an extraordinary memorial. As God says:

"We gave Moses the book, and sent many messengers after him" (2:87), "Then, after them all, We sent Jesus, son of Mary" (5:46), "And We gave him the Gospel, and put mercy and compassion in the hearts of his followers" (57:27). In other words, they spread the faith, not by means of the sword, but by their kindness, humility and good morals. This verse contains the hint that although Moses’ law was stern -- hundreds of thousands of people being killed due to its commandments, so much so that even infants numbering almost four hundred thousand were killed {Note 1} -- God desired that this dispensation should end on a note of mercy, and that He raise a people among them who should draw men to the right path, not by the sword, but by means of knowledge and morals, and by the force of spiritual power.

Like of Jesus in the nation of the Like of Moses

Now it is essential that there must be likeness in terms of Divine favours, since perfect likeness is provable only if there is likeness of Divine favours as well. For fourteen hundred years, Moses was granted servants of the law who were messengers of God and His inspired ones; and this series ended with a messenger who invited to the truth, not with the sword, but merely by mercy and good morals. Therefore, so it was that our Holy Prophet was also granted servants of the law who, in accordance with the hadith "The learned ones among my followers are like the prophets of the Israelites", were Divinely inspired [mulham] and recipients of Divine communication [muhaddath]. {Note 2} And just as in the last era of the Mosaic law was sent Jesus who, not with the sword, but with good morals and mercy invited to the truth, likewise for this law God sent the Promised Messiah so that he too should invite to the right path only by good morals, mercy and heavenly lights. Just as Jesus came about fourteen centuries after Moses, this Promised Messiah too appeared at the start of the fourteenth century, and thus the dispensation of Muhammad attained complete analogy with the dispensation of Moses.

Muslim saints in place of Israelites prophets

If it is said that in the Mosaic order those who were raised for the advocacy of the faith were prophets, and Jesus was also a prophet, the reply is that the prophet [nabi] and the saint [muhaddath] are on a par in terms of being sent [mursal]. Just as God has called prophets as mursal, so has He termed saints as mursal. {Note 3} It is in reference to this that in the Holy Quran occur the words: "We sent after him (Moses) messengers" (2:87), and not "We sent after him prophets". This points to the fact that by "messengers" are meant those who are sent, whether such a one is an apostle [rasul], prophet [nabi] or saint [muhaddath]. As our Master and Apostle, may peace and the blessings of God be upon him, is the last of the prophets [khatam al-anbiya’], and after him there cannot come any prophet, for this reason saints have been substituted for prophets in this religious system. {Note 4} And it is to this that the following verse refers: "A multitude from among the earlier ones, and a multitude from among the later ones" (56:39-40). As the word thulla [multitude] is used equally in both places, it is proved conclusively that the saints of the Muslims, in terms of their number and the length of their order, are equal to the apostles of the Israelites.

Khalifas to be raised among Muslims {Note 5}

Another verse to the same effect is as follows:

"God has promised to those of you who believe and do good that He will surely make them successors in the earth as He made those before them to be successors. And He will surely establish for them their religion, which He has chosen for them, and that He will surely give them security in exchange after their fear. They will serve Me, not associating anything with Me." (24:55)

Now look carefully. This verse also contains a clear reference to the same analogy. And if by this analogy is not meant perfect likeness, then these words become meaningless. For, the chain of successorship in the Mosaic dispensation lasted for fourteen hundred years, not just thirty years; and hundreds of successors [khalifa], spiritual and temporal, appeared, not just four and then the end forever. {Note 6}

Khalifas not only from the Companions

If it is argued that the words min-kum ["those of you"] show that khalifas would only be from among the Companions of the Holy Prophet, because the words "of you" address only the Companions, then such an idea is a clear error. Only such a person will express this view who has never studied the Holy Quran carefully nor understood its idiom. For, if it is true that only those people are addressed who were the believers present in that age, such a view would demolish the whole of the Quran. For instance, similar to the verse above is another passage in the Holy Quran in which the words are apparently addressed to those people who believed in Moses and were alive in his time. Indeed, this passage has a context strongly showing that it was they who were addressed. These verses are:

"The Pharoah said: We will slay their sons and spare their women, and surely we are dominant over them. Moses said to his people: Ask for help from God and be patient. Surely the land is God’s -- He gives it as inheritance to such of His servants as He pleases. And the end is for the dutiful. They said: We were persecuted before you came to us and since you have come to us. Moses said: It may be that your Lord will destroy your enemy and make you successors [khalifa] in the land; then He will see how you act." (7:127-129)

Now in these verses it is plain and clear that those people are addressed who belonged to Moses’ nation and were present before him. They had complained of the Pharoah’s injustices, and added that they had been persecuted before Moses had come and since he had appeared. Moses addressed them, saying that if they bore their afflictions patiently, God would have mercy on them and "destroy your enemy and make you successors in the land". However, historians know, and readers of the Jewish and Christian scriptures are well aware, that though their enemy, the Pharoah, was destroyed before their eyes, they themselves did not attain successorship [khilafat] in the land, neither temporal nor spiritual. Indeed, most of them were destroyed because of their disobedience, and died after wandering in the wilderness for forty years. After they had perished, a chain of successorship was established in their progeny, which meant that many kings and elect of God arose in that nation, such as David and Solomon. And so it went on till this chain of successorship came to an end in the fourteenth century with Jesus.

Holy Quran addresses ancient Israelites as "you"

It is clear from this that if a people are addressed, this does not imply that the address is limited to those of that nation who were present at the time. In fact, the Holy Quran also uses a mode of expression whereby, while addressing a particular people, the real object of its address is another generation, of the past or the future. For instance, in chapter al-Baqara, addressing contemporary Jews, God says:

"O children of Israel, call to mind My favour which I bestowed upon you, and fulfil your covenant with Me. I shall fulfil My covenant with you; and Me alone should you fear" (2:40). Now it is obvious that the Jews of the Holy Prophet’s time were those to whom applied the words: "abasement has smitten them" (3:111). No favour had been bestowed upon them, nor had a covenant been taken from them to the effect that they must accept the last of the prophets.

It is then stated:

"Remember the time when We delivered you from Pharoah’s people, who subjected you to severe torment, killing your sons and sparing your women, and in this there was a great trial from your Lord. And when We parted the sea for you, so We saved you and drowned the people of Pharoah while you saw" (2:49-50). Now it should be noted that none of these events befell the Jews of the Holy Prophet’s time. They had neither been persecuted by the Pharoah, nor had their sons been slain, nor had they crossed any sea.

God then says:

"Remember the time when you said: O Moses, we will not believe in you till we see God with our own eyes. So the lightening struck you while you looked on. Then We raised you to life that you might give thanks. And We made the clouds to give shade over you and We sent to you manna and quails" (2:55-56). Now it is obvious that Moses had died two thousand years before the Jews who were addressed in the Quran, and in Moses’ time there was no trace of them. How could they put this question to him? Had the lightening struck them, or had they eaten manna and quails? Or was it that they were present in Moses’ time in other bodies, and appeared in the Holy Prophet’s time by way of reincarnation? And if this is not the case, what interpretation can we adopt other than to say that it is not necessary that the people who are addressed are actually those to whom the narrated incidents apply.

It is a principle applying to the word of God and the Hadith of the Holy Prophet that sometimes an event is mentioned in connection with an individual or a people, but in fact that event relates to another people or person. And it is in this category that falls the prophecy of the coming of Jesus, for in some reports in Hadith an event of the latter days is mentioned with reference to Jesus, whereas he had died. This event refers to Jesus in the same sense as the events of the deliverance from Pharoah, the eating of manna and quails, the striking of the lightening, the crossing of the water, and the complaint: "we cannot endure one food" (2:61), are mentioned in relation to those Jews who were our Holy Prophet’s contemporaries, whereas these incidents concern an earlier generation of their people who had died centuries before. So if someone does not look at the logical side of the matter in interpreting these verses, and believes it essential to adhere to the words literally, these passages would establish the theory of reincarnation. For how otherwise could it be possible that God would ascribe a deed of one doer to another person who has nothing to do with the committing of the act, whereas He has Himself stated: "No bearer of a burden can bear another’s burden" (6:165). If Moses’ people disobeyed him and were struck by lightening, or if they had worshipped the golden calf and were punished, what had these other people to do with it who were born two thousand years later? It is true that from the time of Adam till now earlier generations are the antecedants of later ones, but the sins of one cannot be attributed to the other.

Then God’s saying in the Holy Quran: "you disobeyed Moses" and "you said, we will not believe in God unless we see Him with our own eyes, and lightening struck you as a result of this sin" -- what literal meaning could these words have except to say that all the Jews of the Holy Prophet Muhammad’s time actually existed in Moses’ time as well. It was they to whom manna and quails were sent down, they were those whom lightening struck, they were the ones for whose sake Pharoah was destroyed, and then the same people appeared in the Holy Prophet’s time by reincarnation. Thus the form of address would be correct. The question is, Why is this plain meaning not adopted? Is this beyond God’s power? Why should a meaning be accepted which belongs to the category of far-fetched interpretations? If, as suggested by our opponents, God will bring Jesus back to earth with his physical body after centuries, is He not powerful enough to raise to life again the Jews of Moses’ time in the days of the Holy Prophet Muhammad in the same way, or to bring their souls back into the world by way of reincarnation? Considering that the return of Jesus to this world is accepted on the basis of unfounded sayings, why and for what reason can the appearance of the souls of all these Jews through reincarnation in our Holy Prophet’s time not be accepted, when there are clear and plain arguments in the Holy Quran testifying to their existence. God plainly states:

i.e. Remember the time when you, and not someone else, said: We will not believe till we see God manifestly; and then the lightening struck you while you looked on (2:55). In this verse there is another subtle point, viz., that because in this text God has not taken the then present Jews as standing for their earlier generations, but rather considered them to be actually the same as the earlier people, this means that the Holy Quran has given the same names to the Jews of the Holy Prophet Muhammad’s blessed time as were the names of those former Israelites. For when these people were considered to be the same as the former generation, it would imply that the names be identical as well.

Coming Jesus is not previous Jesus

Now one should ponder attentively, that as God has addressed the Jews of the Holy Prophet Muhammad’s time, saying in plain and clear words, you committed such evil deeds in the time of Moses, to give this clear and explicit text an interpretation and at the same time to believe on the basis of some Hadith reports that Jesus, who is dead according to the Holy Quran, will descend to the earth, is terrible injustice and inequity. Dear readers, if it had been God’s law and custom to bring departed people back into the world, it would not be permissible to deviate from this clear Quranic verdict which, by repeatedly addressing a past generation, testifies to their being alive. And if here the overwhelming anxiety is that, although such a literal meaning is not beyond God’s omnipotence, still it is against reason, and consequently an interpretation is adopted which is not inconsistent with logic, then the prophecy of the coming of Jesus must also be interpreted in a similar manner. For, if the coming to life of the ancient Jews in the blessed time of our Holy Prophet, or the re-appearance of their souls by way of reincarnation, is opposed to reason, why is it proposed in the case of Jesus that he shall come into the world again, when his death is loudly testified to by the verse: "When Thou didst cause me to die, Thou wast the watcher over them" (5:117). {Note 7}

Is the return of the souls of the Jews to this world beyond the power of God, and against reason, but the return of Jesus to this earth with his physical body entirely rational? Again, if the literal meaning of a clear and conclusive text of the Quran can be departed from, because of the improbability of the literal interpretation, why is it not allowed to depart from the literal meaning of a Hadith report? Does the Hadith hold a higher status than the Quran, so that its reports must always be taken at face value, no matter how far from reason these may be, while the Quran can be given other interpretations?

Use of min-kum in the Quran

Reverting to the original subject, we quote:

"God has promised to those of you who believe and do good that He will surely make them successors in the earth as He made those before them to be successors." (24:55)

Denying the general character of these words, it is asserted that by min-kum ["of you"] are meant only the Companions of the Holy Prophet, and that the true successorship [khilafat rashida] came to an end in their days, after which no sign or trace of this khilafat will remain in Islam till the Day of Judgment. It is as though, like a fantasy or a dream, the period of this khilafat was a mere thirty years, and then after that Islam fell upon evil fortune forever. But I ask, can any virtuous person hold the belief that, in the case of Moses, his law and the period of successorship to him undoubtedly lasted constantly for fourteen hundred years, but the blessings of the Prophet who is known as the "most excellent of messengers" and the "best of prophets", and whose law extends to the Day of Judgment, are limited merely to his own age, and God did not wish that the fruits of his blessings should be manifested through spiritual khalifas for any length of time. Hearing such views makes us shudder, but sadly such people are also called Muslims who, out of sheer insolence and slyness, bring such insulting words to their lips, implying that the blessings of Islam do not lie ahead at all, but rather terminated a long time ago.

Besides this, it is rather strange logic to argue on the basis of the words min-kum that, because the address is directed to the Companions, hence this successorship is limited just to them. To interpret the Quran in such a manner is to surpass even the Jews (in the too literal interpretation of the scripture). Let it be clear that the words min-kum occur in the Holy Quran about 82 times, and except in two or three places where there is a special context, in all other places the words min-kum address all Muslims who are to come into existence till the Day of Judgment.

Some examples

By way of example, we quote below some of the verses in which the words min-kum occur:

1. "Those of you [min-kum] who are sick or on a journey should fast a like number of other days" (2:184). Now consider whether this command was directed only at the Companions, or includes all Muslims till the Day of Judgment. Consider also the verses given below.

2. "With this is admonished he among you [min-kum] who believes in God and the Last Day." (2:232)

3. "Those of you [min-kum] who die, leaving wives behind." (2:240)

4. "There should be such people from among you [min-kum] who invite to good, and enjoin the right and forbid the wrong." (3:103)

5. "I (God) will not waste the work of a worker from among you [min-kum], whether male or female." (3:195)

6. "Do not devour your property among yourselves by illegal methods except that it be trading by consent among you [min-kum]." (4:29)

7. "If you are sick, or on a journey, or one of you [min-kum] has come from the toilet, or you have touched women, and you cannot find water, use pure earth to perform tayammum." (4:43)

8. "Obey God and the Messenger and those in authority from among you [min-kum]." (4:59)

9. "Whoever among you [min-kum] does evil in ignorance, then repents after that and does good, surely God is forgiving, merciful." (6:54)

10. "Whoever among you [min-kum] does this, his recompense is only disgrace in this world’s life, and on the Day of Judgment they shall be sent back to the most grievous chastisement." (2:85)

11. "And there is none of you [min-kum] but shall come to it." (19:71)

12. "We indeed know those of you [min-kum] who go forward and We know those who lag behind." (15:24)

In all these places, the words min-kum refer to Muslims generally, whether they were present at the time or were to come into existence afterwards till the Day of Judgment. Similarly in all other places, except in two or three cases, these have been used in a general sense. In all commandments, it appears that only the Companions are addressed, but to particularise them to the Companions without the support of the context is not permissible. For, every evil-doer could put forward the excuse that all the commands relating to fasting, prayer, pilgrimage, righteousness, purity, and abstention from evil, are only directed at the Companions and hence he need not observe them. Obviously only a hypocrite, and not a God-fearing person, could bring such words to his lips.

Reason why min-kum occurs in this verse

If the question arises in someone’s mind, that if the verse "God has promised to those of you who believe" is general, and not particular, why were the words min-kum added and what was the necessity for this addition, since it should only have been said: God has promised to those who believe and do good that He will surely make them successors in the earth as He made those before them to be successors. The answer is that this promise draws a parallel with the true believers and the righteous who had passed away before the Muslims. Thus the meaning of this verse is as follows:

God had made such people to be successors [khalifa] in the earth before you as were faithful and righteous, and who, along with their faith, had done good deeds; and God makes the promise that from among you too, O Muslims, those people who possess such excellent qualities and do good works, apart from having faith, will be made khalifas.

Hence the words min-kum are not superfluous, but are intended to point to the true believers and the doers of good in Islam, for since in this verse the words "those who believe and do good" apply equally to the faithful and the righteous of previous nations as well as the Muslims, the text would have been weak, ambiguous and ineloquent if no term of specification had been added.

The words min-kum are also used to convey that previously only those had been made successors who were faithful and righteous, and that from among Muslims too the same kind of people would be made successors. Now if there are eyes which can see, then how do the words min-kum become superfluous and a repetition by taking the verse in a general sense? As faith and good works did not begin with the Muslims, and there had been believers and doers of good before them, how could there have been a clear distinction without the words min-kum? If it had only been said, God has promised those who believe and do good, it would not have been known which believers were being referred to, whether those from the Muslims or from the previous nations. And if only min-kum had been used, without "those who believe and do good", it would have been thought that wicked and evil-doing people could also be made khalifas by God, whereas the kingship and rulership of the wicked is by way of trial, and not by way of Divine election. The true khalifas of God, whether spiritual or temporal, are only those who are pious, faithful and doers of good.

Min-kum usually refers to all Muslims

The doubt that, taking this verse in a general sense, the concluding words, "whoever disbelieves after this, they are the transgressors", become completely senseless, is such a ridiculous idea that it evokes laughter. The plain and clear purport of the verse is that God, having given the glad tidings of the appearance of khalifas, then threatens the rebellious and the disobedient that after the coming of the khalifas, who shall appear from time to time, anyone who takes to rebellion, and turns away from obedience and allegiance to them, is a transgressor of God’s commands [fasiq]. Where is the inconsistency in the meaning? It should also be made plain that corresponding to these words is the hadith in which the Holy Prophet Muhammad says: "He who does not recognise the spiritual guide [imam] of his time, he dies a death of ignorance", i.e. as the spiritual guides continue to appear in each age, those who do not acknowledge them will die the death akin to the death of disbelievers. The critic adduces the verse:

"God said (to Jesus’ disciples): I will send down the food to you, but whoever disbelieves afterwards from among you [min-kum], I will chastise him with a chastisement with which I will not chastise anyone among the nations." (5:115)

and draws from it the conclusion that the words min-kum here have been used specifically referring to those present. This, however, is to no advantage because we have already written that the predominant Quranic idiom, of which the entire Holy Book is full, is that this form of address is general, and commandments addressing "you" are for the whole of the Muslim people, not just the Companions. However, if at some place the context plainly and clearly limits the circle of those addressed, that is an exception. Hence, in the verse quoted above, that particular group of Jesus’ disciples are addressed and answered who had asked for food to be sent down. The context shows that it was they who asked the question and they who were answered.

To assert that the Holy Quran contains frequent such examples is totally false and misleading. The words min-kum occur in the Holy Quran some 82 times, and there are about 600 instances of other kinds of address, but all these addresses, which convey commandments etc., are general. If the Holy Quran had addressed only the Companions, it would have become redundant after their passing away. The verse under dispute, which concerns the khilafat is in reality similar to the verse: "For them are glad tidings in this world’s life" (10:64). Were these glad tidings limited to the Companions, or does anyone else also have a share of these?

Commandments addressed to Companions meant for all

The critic’s statement that if anyone deviates from the actual meaning, which concerns only those who are addressed, and takes the words in a general sense, he must prove his departure by conclusive arguments, shows clearly that he knows nothing of the idiom of the Holy Quran and, indeed, of any Divine book. The trouble is that most hasty people are ever ready to object before giving proper thought. If the objector was sincerely interested in investigation, he should have looked at all the instances where apparently the Companions are addressed, and determined what is the most frequent and predominant idiom adopted by the Holy Quran. For, it is obvious that the correct meaning will be in accordance with the most predominant idiom, and it would not be allowable to deviate from it without support of the context.

Now let it be clear that the real idiom of the Holy Quran is generality in addressing those who were present, and it is on this basis that the 600 commands in the Holy Quran are taken to apply generally, and not limited to the Companions. So if a person goes against the common idiom and limits a particular commandment to the Companions, it would be his duty to establish, with strong arguments, that only the Companions had been addressed there and all others excluded. For instance, apparently addressing the Companions, God says in the Holy Quran:

1: You should only serve God. 2: Seek assistance through patience and prayer. 3: Eat of the pure things. 4: Do not make mischief. 5: Establish the Zakat. 6: Keep up prayer. 7: Face the Maqam Ibrahim in prayer. 8: Try to excel one another in doing good. 9: Remember Me and I will remember you. 10: Give thanks to Me. 11: Address your supplications to Me. 12: Do not call dead those who are slain in the way of God. 13: Do not dub as disbeliever and faithless he who says to you Assalamu ‘Alaikum. 14: Eat of the good things, of what the earth grows. 15: Follow not the footsteps of the devil. 16: Fasting is made obligatory for you. 17: He from among you who is sick or on a journey should complete the missed number of fasts afterwards. 18: Do not swallow one another’s property unjustly. 19: Fear God so that you may be successful. 20: Fight in the way of God those who fight you. 21: Exceed not the limits in fighting. 22: Be not aggressive, for God loves not the aggressive. 23: Spend in the way of God. 24: Do not kill yourselves on purpose. 25: Do good to people, for God loves the doers of good. 26: Perform the pilgrimage and the ‘umra for God. 27: And make provision for yourselves on the pilgrimage journey, i.e. the advantage is that you will not ask of another, meaning that asking is degrading and one must plan to be safe from it. 28: Enter into peace and Islam. 29: Marry not the idolatrous women, till they become believers. 30: O believing women, marry not the idolators till they believe. 31: Send some good for your souls beforehand. 32: Make not God by your oaths a hindrance to your doing good. 33: Do not retain your wives in order to cause them injury. 34: Those of you who die and leave wives behind, such women should keep themselves in waiting for four months and ten days. 35: If you divorce women, let them go with kindness. 36: If you apprehend fear (of the enemy), say your prayers while marching on foot or riding. 37: If you show your charity to others, it is generally good, so that other people may follow your example. If you give it to the destitute secretly, then it is better for your own souls. 38: When you lend to someone, have it written down. 39: Fear God in repaying debt, and do not keep anything back. 40: When you buy or sell, have some witnesses. 41: If you are on a journey and cannot find a scribe, take something as a security (for a loan). 42: Hold fast, all of you, to the rope of God and do not split. 43: There should be such ones among you who enjoin the right and forbid the wrong. 44: Hasten to forgiveness from God. 45: If the wife of any of you dies, yours is a half of her property if she has no children, but if she does have children, you shall receive a quarter after complying with the will.

We have quoted these few commandments by way of example. A person having even a little sense can see that although the address is apparently to the Companions, in fact all Muslims are obliged to act upon these commandments, not merely the Companions and none else. Thus the real and true Quranic idiom, of which the entire Holy Book is full, is that those addressed in it are really and actually all Muslims to come into existence till the Day of Judgment, though on the face of it the address appears to be directed towards the Companions. Consequently, the person who claims that the promise or the warning {Note 8} is limited only to the Companions is going against the common idiom of the Quran, and until he shows full evidence of this claim he will be a deviant in adopting this view. Was the Quran revealed only for the Companions? If the promises and warnings of the Quran, and all its commandments, are limited to them, it would be as if those who come afterwards have no connection whatever with the Quran. We seek refuge in God from this senseless proposition!

Was khilafat to last only thirty years

To argue that it is said in the Hadith that khilafat shall be for thirty years is strange logic. When the Holy Quran says: "A multitude from among the earlier ones, and a multitude from among the later ones", {Note 9} what kind of sense is it to adduce a hadith against it and take its meaning as contradicting the Quran? If one relies on the Hadith, then one should first follow those reports which much surpass this hadith in authenticity and reliability; for instance, the sayings in Sahih al-Bukhari giving the news of the appearance of certain khalifas in the latter days, especially the khalifa regarding whom it is written in Bukhari that a voice shall issue forth for him from heaven, proclaiming: "This is the khalifa of God, the rightly-guided one". Now consider, of what a high standard and rank is this report, contained in the book which is called "the most correct of books after the Quran". But as to the hadith which the critic has put forward, scholars have raised many kinds of objections against it, and they have doubts about its authenticity.

Has not the critic considered that the prophecies about the coming of certain khalifas in the latter days -- that Harith {Note 10} shall come, the Mahdi shall come, the heavenly khalifa shall come -- are contained in Hadith and not in some other book. It is proven from the Hadith that there are three ages: first, the period of the righteous khilafat, then the "age of corruption" in which there were to be tyrannical kings, and after that the last days which would be on the pattern of the times of prophethood. The Holy Prophet has gone so far as to say that the early days of his followers and the last days would be very similar, and that these two ages are like the rain: it is full of such good and blessings that one knows not whether the blessings lie more in the beginning or in the end.

Translator's Notes

Translator's Note 1: The reference is to the early Israelite wars, particularly those under Moses and Joshua. The Book of Joshua gives 9 instances in which the Israelites, after taking a town, destroyed ‘all’ the inhabitants, ‘all that breathed’ (see Joshua 10:28-40 and 11:10-15). These actions are said there to be ‘as the Lord God of Israel commanded’. In some other instances, the killing of infants is specifically mentioned. When the Israelites killed only the adult males of the Midianites whom they had defeated, Moses instructed them: "Now, therefore, kill every male among the little ones" (see Book of Numbers 31:1-18). In Joshua 6:21 and 1 Samuel 15:1-8 it is mentioned, respectively, that the Israelites killed ‘young and old’ and ‘infant and suckling’ as part of their complete destruction of the enemy communities. {Go to text}

Translator's Note 2: The word muhaddath is used in a Saying of the Holy Prophet Muhammad in Bukhari to denote a person who receives revelation from God without being what is known as a prophet in Islamic terminology. It is clear from the Quran and Hadith that revelation of a lower kind will continue to be received by the Muslim righteous, even though prophethood itself and the highest type of revelation have terminated after the Holy Prophet Muhammad. {Go to text} 
Translator's Note 3: The Quran relates a story of three messengers (sing. mursal) in chapter 36, verses 13-21. It was held by renowned commentators before Hazrat Mirza's time that these ‘messengers’ were not actual prophets, but inspired saints who fall in the category of muhaddath (see last note). {Go to text}

Translator's Note 4: Here Hazrat Mirza states in the clearest words possible that no prophet can come after the Holy Prophet Muhammad, and that this is the meaning of the Holy Prophet being the Khatam an-nabiyyin. Moreover, instead of prophets, there come saints (sing. muhaddath) among the Muslims. It is also made clear that the term ‘messenger' can include a saint, as well as real prophets and messengers of God. {Go to text}

Translator's Note 5: In this section of the book, the terms khalifa and khilafat are referred to very frequently. In a general sense, the word khalifa is applied to a successor (of someone), khilafat being the institution of successorship. As used in this book, these terms denote the successors to the Holy Prophet Muhammad within the Islamic system or the successors to Moses within the Israelite order, depending on the context. In this translation, the original terms khalifa and khilafat have been retained whenever the reference is to the Islamic dispensation, and the English words successor and successorship used whenever the reference is to Israelite history. {Go to text}

Translator's Note 6: The reference here is to the duration of the ‘Righteous Caliphate' (khilafat rashida) under the first four Caliphs after the Holy Prophet Muhammad which lasted for thirty years. Hazrat Mirza argues against the view advanced by some Muslims that that was to be the entire extent of khilafat (successorship) to the Holy Prophet Muhammad. {Go to text}

Translator's Note 7: According to the full text of verses 5:116-117, God will ask Jesus on the Day of Judgment the question: ‘Did you say to people, "Take me and my mother for two gods besides God’." The reply Jesus will give is also recorded there, its last part being as follows: "I only said to them what Thou didst command me: Serve God, my Lord and your Lord; and I was a witness of them so long as I was among them, but when Thou didst cause me to die, Thou wast the watcher over them". This reply clearly shows that Jesus died at a time when his followers still adhered to his teaching of belief in One God, and that on the Day of Judgment he will know nothing of their later belief in his own divinity, i.e. he will not have returned to this world to witness their later condition. {Go to text}

Translator's Note 8: Contained in the verse discussed earlier, promising the appearance of khalifas among the Muslims, and ending by warning those who reject them. {Go to text}

Translator's Note 9: The author has previously referred to this verse (56:39-40), on pages 30-31, and explained it as meaning that, just as there was a multitude of successors to Moses, likewise would there be many khalifas to the Holy Prophet Muhammad. {Go to text}

Translator's Note 10: The report about the coming of a man called Harith is to be found in the Hadith collection Abu Dawud. The word Harith means a cultivator and farmer. Hazrat Mirza being from a family of agricultural landlords, applies this prophecy to himself. Prophecies about the coming of the Mahdi are to be found in many Hadith books, the basic fact being very well-known to all Muslims. The prophecies about Harith and other khalifas are also given in Mishkat al-Masabih, Book of Fitan, chapter III, sections I and II. {Go to text}