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Janbah Sahib and the Argument of 23 Years

Abdul Ghaffar Janbah Sahib of Kiel, Germany claims to be the real Musleh Maoud as per the prophecy of the Promised Massih (as).  Janbah Sahib thinks that he is on the right path and that he is the true and only Musleh Maoud promised to Massih Maoud (as) and he is adamant to defile the claim of Musleh Maoud of Hadhrat Musleh Maoud (ra). In order to prove that the claim of Hadhrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad (ra) was false (God Forbid), Janbah Sahib argues that Hadhrat Khalifa Sani met with the accursed death of a false claimant. In short, for the sake of making himself true, Janbah Sahib has smeared himself with the blood of the Musleh Maoud (ra).

In order to prove his satanic theory, Janbah Sahib attempts to derive a principle from the writings of the Promised Massih (as). Janbah Sahib alleges that the Promised Massih (as) held that anyone who is killed within a period of 23 years after making a claim of being a divine appointee shall be deemed to be false. Applying this (self-invented) principle in the case of Hadhrat Khalifa Sani (ra), Janbah Sahib comes to the conclusion that because of Khalifa Sani died 22 years and 06 months under the Islamic Calendar after making the claim of being the Musleh Maoud of the era, he did not complete the requirement of 23 years. Further, since Khalifa Sani met with a severe attack on his jugular vein during this period, Janbah Sahib argues that the Qur’anic punishment of divine wrath for a false claimant is fulfilled in his case (God Forbid).        

Such simplistic analysis of a profound spiritual issue could have been dismissed as the fabrication of a deluded mind but for the proponent of this idea claiming to speak on the basis of divine guidance. Since the Holy Qur’an is with us even today, any one who speaks to be inspired by Allah, the Most High ought to confirm the message of the Holy Qur’an and not to go against the grain of divine wisdom contained in the Holy Book.

In this article, we shall examine the validity of the assertions made by Janbah Sahib in the light of the writings of the Promised Massih Hadhrat Ahmad (as) himself and the teachings of the Holy Qur’an, spiritual precedents and plain common sense. As a preliminary, in examining the writings of the Promised Massih (as), we must remember that the Promised Massih (as) was a debater par excellence- he used to deploy consummate logic in his argumentations of extraordinary dimensions on any spiritual issue, simply to drive home his essential point. For instance, while decrying the Christ of Christian imagination as unworthy of being considered even a decent man, he had absolutely no problem in showering praise on Jesus, son of Mary as emerging from the Holy Qur’an!    

In the instant case, the Promised Massih (as) pointed to an interesting fact in order to call the attention of the Ulema of the day to the length of time he has had been claiming to be a recipient of divine revelations and preaching among them. The Promised Massih (as) pointed to the length of the Nubuwwat period of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) which lasted for a period of 23 years and argued persuasively that this could be a criterion for confirming the truthfulness of a divine claimant till the Day of Judgement.

For, the Holy Qur’an confirms that it is a well established principle of divine practice that forging revelations and attributing them to the Lord Almighty and deceiving people thereby to believe in them as Divine Message is a crime punishable in this very earth. Verily Allah says in Surah Al-Haqqah: "And if he had forged (and attributed) any sayings to Us, We would surely have seized him by the right hand, And then surely We would have severed his life-artery, And not one of you could have held (Us) off from him." (69: 45-48)

In short, a false claimant will meet his divine decree within a short period of time and will not be able to leave his work for posterity as whatever he has done would find its space within the dustbin of history. No one will ever be able to produce a false claimant of divine revelations who has not met with the Divine wrath within a period of 23 years; this was the challenge of the Promised Massih (as) to everyone!

While précising the period of 23 years in some of his writings as the period within which Allah, the Over-powering Lord shall seize and kill a false claimant, the Promised Massih (as) has also written- calling attention to the length of period he has been a recipient of divine revelations- that Allah will not give respite to a false claimant for more than 20 years and that it can be confirmed that such a person is a truthful claimant. For instance, the Promised Massih (as) wrote:

      I do affirm that he who falsely poses as the recipient divine revelation is soon seized and his life is cut short. The Torah, the Gospel and the Holy Qur'an bear witness to this and so does reason. An opponent cannot set forth a single instance to the contrary from history and can not show that any false claimant of recipient of divine revelation continued to spread false revelation in the world till twenty five (25) year or till eighteen (18) year and falsely called himself  God beloved and God appointed and God Messenger."

(Ayyam-us-Sulah, Ruhani Khaza'in, Vol. 14, pp. 267-268 with reference to Essence of Islam II, pp. 379)
Today, Janbah Sahib and his team of critics reject this writing of the Promised Massih (as). They fear that accepting this understanding of the Promised Massih (as) would bulldoze the edifice of their entire case against Hadhrat Khalifa Sani (ra). So, they insist that only those writings of the Promised Massih (as) that stipulate the period of 23 years can be treated as the actual standard.

Without conceding our right to remind them about the other writings of the Promised Massih (as) in which he clearly stated that “more than 20 years” is a sufficient period to close a case against a false claimant, we shall presently examine their logic of 23 years.  

In judging the validity of any statement made by any holy Man of God (including the Promised Massih (as), it is a well established principle of interpretation that the statement has to be seen in the over all framework of Qur’anic ideas. Aspects of those statements that apparently run counter to the spirit of the Book of Allah has to be read down as not really implied. For, it is deemed that they never wanted to articulate positions that went against the essence of the Divine Will as emerging from the Holy Qur’an. 

Now, if one pays close attention to the actual challenge of the Promised Massih (as), he will understand a startling fact: it was a profound, yet precise challenge:

The challenge of Hadhrat Ahmad (as) is that all false claimants will be killed within the period of 23 years and no one will be able to produce any evidence contrary to this principle. In other words, the challenge of the Promised Massih (as) was ONLY that no false claimant shall be able to survive the period of 23 years.

To put it differently, the Promised Massih (as) never extended this challenge to the other end of the spectrum-   (1) There is no possibility of a holy man of God getting killed; or that (2) No righteous claimant shall die within the period of 23 years; or that (3) all those claimants who die or get killed within a period of 23 years after making the claim shall be deemed to false.

While a false claimant shall be killed within the period of 23 years and his mission will go into the dustbin of history, getting killed at the hands of enemies within the period does not make a righteous claimant false automatically. In short, the Promised Massih (as) never challenged the world that a righteous servant of Allah shall never get killed within a period of 23 years.

In spite of this very apparent logic, Janbah Sahib attributes his idea that no righteous claimant can get killed within a period of 23 years to the Promised Massih (as). There is absolutely no evidence to believe that the Promised Massih (as) ever entertained this idea. As we have shown earlier, the crux of the argument of the Promised Massih (as) was that if he was indeed a false claimant, he could not have been addressing them for a period of more than 20 years. And the simple fact is that Promised Massih (as) did not address the question as to whether a righteous claimant can get killed in his challenges and he was only dealing with the fate of false claimants. This deception is being practiced willfully or through negligence of a colossal magnitude, with the objective of gaining legitimacy for the satanic theory.

Unlike the Janbah Sahib and his team of critics, the Promised Massih (as) had a profound understanding about the Qur’anic perspective on the issue. That is why he did not extend his argument to the aforesaid propositions. For the Holy Qur’an expressly indicates that even righteous servants of Allah can be killed by unscrupulous enemies by pointing to the experience of the past Prophets. [2:62; 3:113; 4: 156].

With absolute detachment, Allah declares in the Holy Qur’an that even the Holy Prophet of Islam (sa) could “die or be slain” at the hands of his opponents just like any other human being in the course of his life. And this can happen regardless of the number of years he has already completed on the face of earth (3:145, 22:59).

It is our belief that Allah will not let His prophets die until their missions are completed, even if it means that their Shahaddat (martyrdom) is written in the hands of their enemies. Indeed Martyrdom is a great status reached by prophets and pious and beloved servants of Allah. But a Prophet is protected by Allah till he completes his mission (An example of it is when Allah saved Jesus (as) from the cross, and made him accomplish his mission before taking him back to Him through death).

The fact that Hadhrat Khalifa Sani (ra) "survived the cross" and went on to live for a period of over a decade even after such a serious and severe attack on life only points to the messianic qualities and the veracity of Hadhrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad (ra). That he lived long enough to touch the standard of Nubuwwat period of the Holy Prophet (sa) in spite of the extreme attack on his person at an old age adds to the extraordinary dimension of Divine help and shadow protecting a Man of God in adverse conditions of material life.   

By stretching an argument of the Promised Massih (as) to its illogical extend, Janab Janbah Sahib is doing a considerable disservice to the cause of Islam and the noble reputation of righteous claimants of divine revelations who faced adverse conditions by putting them under a permanent veil of doubt.