Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Total Eclipses during Ramadan: A Great Sign

"When eyes are dazzled;And the moon eclipsed;when the sun and the moon are brought together"
                              - The Holy Qur'an, 75: 8-10 

One of the greatest signs in favour of the claims of Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib (atba) of Mauritius as the Divinely-raised Reformer (Muhyi-ud-Din/Mujaddid) of this age is the total eclipse of the Sun and the Moon in the same Holy Month of Ramadan 1424, in November 2003.

According to the available scientific information on both total and partial eclipses over the millennium, the total eclipses of November 2003 is such a rare heavenly sign.  In the last 1400 years of the Islamic history, the total eclipses of the Sun and the Moon in the same Ramadan has occured only very few occasions that they can be counted on our human fingers. In November 2003 when the total eclipses took place, it was occurring only the seventh time in 1400 years of Islamic history! And the next occasion is so distant that no one alive on the face of earth today will be around to witness the same astronomical phenomenon, when it occurs again in the second half of the next century!

On the other hand, partial eclipses of the Moon and the Sun can occur together in the same Holy Month at an interval of every 22 or 23 years, a fact confirmed by the great Ahmadi astronomer Dr. Saleh Muhammad Allahdin Sahib as well.  Leaving the whole millennium of Islam, in the 19th century itself, the partial eclipses of the Sun and the Moon have occurred together in the same Ramadan  9 times. It was one of such occurrences in 1894 that formed the backdrop of the claim of the Promised Massih Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) of Qadian. The ‘rarity’ in that case was that there was a Divine claimant at that point of time and that such a heavenly phenomenon was visible from Qadian after many centuries. Regarding the significance of the Heavenly Signs in support of the claims of a Divine Reformer, the Promised Massih (as) was very clear about the scope and limits of the Prophecof double eclipses in the same Ramadan and he states:

"We are not concerned with how often solar and lunar eclipses have occurred in the month of Ramazan from the beginning of the world till today. Our aim is only to mention that from the time man has appeared in this world, solar and lunar eclipses have occurred as Signs only in my age for me. Prior to me, no one had this circumstances that on one hand he claimed to be Mahdi Mauood (The Promised Reformer) and on the other, in the month of Ramazan, on the appointed dates, lunar and solar eclipses occurred and he declared the eclipses as signs in his favour.

The Hadees of Darqutni does not say at all that solar and lunar eclipses did not occur ever before, but it does clearly say that such eclipses never occurred earlier as Signs, because the word "lum takuna" is used which denotes feminine gender; this implies that such a Sign was never manifested before. If it was meant that such eclipses never occurred before "lum yakuna" which denotes masculine gender was needed and not "lum takuna" which denoted feminine gender. It is clear from this that the reference is to the two signs because signs are of feminine gender. Hence if anybody thinks that many times lunar and solar eclipse have occurred, it is his responsibility to show the claimant to Mahdi who declared the solar and lunar eclipses as his sign and this proof should be certain and conclusive and this can only happen if a book of the claimant is produced who claimed to be Mahdi Ma'hood and had written that the lunar and solar eclipses which occurred in Ramazan on the dates specified in Darqutni are the Signs of my truth. 

In short we are not concerned with the mere occurrence of solar and lunar eclipses even if they had been thousands of times. As a Sign this has happened at the time of a claimant only once and the Hadees has proved its authenticity and truth through its fulfillment at the time of the claimant to Mahdi." (Chashma-e-Marifat, p. 315).

In an essay written as early as 1996, for a science research journal- Hamdard Islamicus- published from Pakistan, Dr. David L. McNaughton pointed to the uniqueness of the phenomenon of two total eclipses during the same Ramadan, by looking at the scientific/astronomical data for the entire history of Islamic Hijri Calendar. He points out that in the entire modern history of the world, between AD 1786 and in future AD 2155, the only occasion when the two total eclipses occur together in the same month of Ramadan, was in November 2003/Ramadan 1424. Concluding his prescient essay, Dr. David L. McNaughton makes a pointed remark:

“It will be interesting to see whether the two total eclipses scheduled to occur during Ramadan 1424 (AD November 2003) - are cited to support a claim similar to that made by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, or as proof of the significance of some extraordinary event”. 

In the context of the establishment of the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam in India in 2010-11 and in response to the questions raised by certain Ahmadi brothers at that point of time in Kerala, Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib (atba) acknowledged the reality of heavenly signs that were vouchsafed to him in this era. In his Friday Sermon of March 25, 2011, Hadhrat Sahib, thus, stated:

Allah has sent this humble self with lots of heavenly signs and the most flagrant and being a prophecy of both the Holy Quran and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saws) is the eclipse of both the moon and the sun in the same month of Ramadhan back in November 2003 (November 9 and 23). At that time (in the Jamaat Ahmadiyya Al Mouslemeen), Allah made me stood up and proclaim that I was the one whose advent is announced through this heavenly sign in our present era, that this sign is for the advent of this humble self.

Dr. Saleh Muhammad Allahdin Sahib, writing in the July 1987 issue of the Review of Religions in an essay entitled “Lunar and Solar Eclipses as the Signs of the Promised Massih (p.44-49), stated:

Even if another Reformer appears later and the eclipses occur on the specified dates of Ramazan in his time, he would not be able to say that such a Sign has not been shown for any other Divine Reformer before him since the creation of the world, since the Sign has already been manifested for the Promised Messiah”.

In the sacred traditions of the Holy Prophet of Islam (sa), one can see being mentioned several Mahdis who shall arrive in the Later Days, a fact confirmed by the Promised Massih (as) himself.  In his book NISHAN-E-ASMANI (The Heavenly Sign), the Promised Massih Hadhrat Ahmad (as) states:

“Undoubtedly, people have greatly erred in understanding the Ahadith that mention the prophecy of the Holy Prophet (sa) about the coming of a person named Mahdi. In general, it has been erroneously assumed that the word 'Mahdi' invariably refers to 'Muhammad son of ‘Abdullah' who has been mentioned in some Ahadith. But a careful study reveals that the Holy Prophet (sa) has foretold the coming of several Mahdis…. In short, it is a definite and proven fact that several Mahdis are mentioned in the Sihah Sittah…” (The Heavenly Sign, pp.22-23, MA Ghauri, London: Islam International Publications Ltd, (2005); First Urdu edition in India in 1892.  

In our view, the fact that Allah (twa) raised a Divine Reformer in our age in the person of Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib (atba) of Mauritius who confirms the veracity of the truthfulness of the Promised Massih (as) and that He has vouchsafed for him an even greater and unique and rare Heavenly Sign than what was available in the previous era, is a matter of profound satisfaction and deep gratitude to the AlmightyAlhamdulillah Rabbul Aalameen.  

Regarding the spiritual significance of the Heavenly Sign in support of a Divine claimant, the Promised Massih (as) wrote: "Are you not afraid to deny the Hadees of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, even though its truth has become as manifest as the bright sun? Can you present a Sign like this in any age in the past. Do you read in any book that some person claimed to be from Almighty God and then in his time in Ramazan, the lunar and solar eclipses occurred as you have now seen? If you are aware then relate it ….And if you cannot prove, and you will never be able to prove, then guard against the Fire which is prepared for those who create disorder." (Noor’al Haq, Part II). 

Just as the Promised Massih (as) had told the sceptics and critics and unbelivers of his day that the appearance of the Heavenly Signs in the time and the very presence of a Divine Reformer or a claimant of Divine revelations is a matter of serious and extraordinary significance for the belivers. It is for Ahmadis and other truth seekers who have asked the questions about Heavenly Signs for the Divinely-raised "Muhyi-ud-Din" of this era to look at objectively and reflect profoundly on these Signs and their spiritual importance in the light of guidance left behind by the Promised Massih (as) in the previous century.  

To read the 1996 Essay by Dr. David L. McNaughtonon on Eclipses during Ramadan, click here. For other Blog articles on celestial signs, click here and here .