Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Why Follow A ‘Mujaddid’- I

Islam after the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa)

Contemporary Muslim world is riddled with profound paradoxes and deep ironies both in its secular and spiritual realms. Muslims today stand at the crossroads of time: from providing frameworks for the profound transformation of whole communities and nations, and guiding people on the virtues of inner peace and social equilibrium; the Muslims have come to witness periods of decline and fall in their political and spiritual fortunes as well. Severe trials of history in the forms of colonialism and imperialism- the long onslaught of alien economic, military and ideological dominance over the Muslim lands- scarred the psyche of many Muslim societies and peoples. Even in the face of the jealous machinations of the enemies and the many failings of its claimed adherents, it is astonishing that Islam could survive and flourish against all oddsIndeed, by all indications and empirical projections, Islam is poised to outgrow all other religions and is destined to embrace every nook and corner of this world in the foreseeable future. Insha Allah, Aameen. 

The Path of the Saints: Mujaddid/Muhaddith/Khalifatullah 

Notwithstanding the clear intimations of Divine favour on Islam as the paramount belief system of the evolving future; it is deeply ironical that the religion is besieged by simmering internal crises. Much of the Islamic world is beset with looming fires of various kinds amidst deepening sectarian divisionsAt a time when the propaganda against Islam as an oppressive social order (God forbid) remains raging in non-Muslim public/ social circles, it is also disconcerting that there is a glaring disconnect between the ideals of the Faith and the realities of practice in every day life among the Muslims. 

Since most Muslims today have an imperfect understanding of Divine commandments and religious doctrines they have inherited from their pious ancestors, it is a religious imperative that the spiritual appeal and ethical beauty of Islam is reclaimed and renewed by living testimonials in the everyday life of the community at large. It is instructive to note in this context vital Islamic teachings regarding the continuity of spiritual vicegerency in every era of Islam through the advent of some perfect followers of the Light of Muhammad (sa). Indeed the Qur'an makes a spiritual promise that Allah (swt) shall raise His special servants with a mandate to hold aloft the torch of Faith and for the renewal/re-birth of sublime morals of Islam among the believers. Such teachings about the coming of the Saints of the Faith to serve as the guiding stars even in times of crises and confusion powerfully point to the inner vitality of the Islamic Way. If Islam has survived and continues to endure as the Holy Path of God despite all the political crises in Muslim lands, it is indeed in large measure due to the instrumental and exemplary roles of the extraordinary men (and women) of God who appeared to serve the Faith over the centuries. 

Mujaddidin will continue to Appear

The Promised Massih Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) of Qadian was a spiritual polymath, steeped in all the religious sciences. He spoke with extraordinary urgency and consistency on the need for the wider acceptance within the Muslim Ummah of forgotten Islamic teachings- regarding advent of Divinely-imbued souls such as a Mujaddid/Muhaddith/Khalifatullah among the Muslims in every era. 

Perhaps some of the finest explanations on the purpose and significance of such Divine Manifestations in Islam is found in the enduring writings of the Promised Massih (as). In an era in which his own so called followers and disciples have completely trampled to dust the great legacy of the Promised Massih (as) by ignoring and evading the Divine Manifestation of this era among the Ahmadis in the person of Hadhrat Muhyi-ud-Din Al Khalifatullah Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius, it is all the more important to revisit his thoughts and reclaim his profound reflections on the advent of Mujaddidin and Muhaddithin among the believers. Reproduced below are certain extracts from the Speeches and Discourses (‘Malfoozat’) of the Promised Massih (as) on the theme:

If now is not the time for the advent of the awaited one, the earliest that he can appear now is after a hundred years. For a divinely appointed Reformer (Mujaddid) must always appears at the head of the century”. -----The First Address of the Promised Messiah (as) at the Annual Convention on 25 December 1897).

A String of Reformers within the Muslim Community

At this instance another point ought to be remembered as well. 

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was always destined to pass away, and in the apparent sense, an exemplar and instrument for the manifestation of God was to leave the world. Therefore, Allah the Exalted instituted a simple method: 

--- “Say, ‘If you love Allah, follow me”. (----Aal-e-Imran, 3:32).

This is by virtue of the fact that the beloved of Allah is always mustaqim (i.e. straight and right). A person who possesses a ‘crooked’ nature can never become a beloved of Allah. In order to increase and invigorate within our hearts the love of Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, it is compulsory to invoke blessings upon the Holy Prophet (sa) in each of the formal Prayers, so that a steadfast means for the acceptance of this prayer may become available to us.

It is an accepted fact that the being of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, will remain alive in the form of spiritual reflection until the Day of Resurrection. The mystics say that the Reformers (Mujaddidin) are named after the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him; that is to say, the name of the Holy Prophet (sa) is given to them in a certain way to indicate that they are a reflection of him.

The Shia view that the system of attaining to the rank of sainthood came to an end at Hazrat Ali, may Allah honour him, is absolutely false. The excellences which Allah Almighty invested in the institution of prophethood reached their pinnacle collectively in the person of our Perfect Guide, the Holy Prophet (sa). Now, for all times to come, the Mujaddidin will continue to spiritually reflect these excellences throughout the world. Allah the Exalted will make this phenomenon continue until the Day of Resurrection.

I proclaim once again that even now God Almighty has not left the world deprived and He has established a dispensation. Verily, He has raised a man with His own hand and that person is I who speaks to you now, in your midst…." (-----An Address by the Promised Messiah (as) Delivered on 18 January 1898). 

To read the Second Part, click here