A world reformer
In the Islamic belief there have been over 100,000 Prophets that have been sent to various parts of the globe throughout history. The law-bearing Prophets - Prophets that bring a new religion - are known as the Chief Prophets/. Law-bearing Prophets include Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Muhammad.
In Islam, Muslims hold the belief that all Prophets of God essentially deliver the same message. Like a relay team, each Prophet serves the same cause at different times and places.
While some Prophets may be law-bearing, other Prophets may not bring a completely new religion, but rather serve to remind his people of previous teachings.
After the demise of Prophet Moses, we witnessed the Jewish tribe stray away from the essential teachings of Judaism. Instead of a new Prophet bringing a new religion, God sent Jesus who survived the revive the Judaic faith.
“I have not come to change the law, but to fulfill it.” (Galatians 3:13)
Similarly in the Holy Qur’an, Allah states that:
"He it is Who has raised among the unlettered people a Messenger from among themselves who recites unto them His Signs, and purifies them, and teaches them the Book and Wisdom though before that they were in manifest error; And He will raise him among others of them who have not yet joined them. He is the Mighty, the Wise." (62:3-4)
When this verse was revealed, a companion of the Holy Prophetsa enquired that, “Who are the people to whom the words and among others of them who have not yet joined them refer?”
At this time, the Holy Prophetsa put his hand on Salman - his companion of Persian descent - and said, "If faith were to go up to the Pleiades, a man from among these would surely find it." (Bukhari)
The World Reformer, the Promised Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was of Persian descent. He and his community are the people being referred to in this verse of the Holy Qur'an, to be sent in the latter days to bring people back to morality and the true teachings of Islam.
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a grand sign
On what nights would it be possible for these two events to occur? Dr. David McNaughton has pointed out that a lunar eclipse can occur on the 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th of the month, and a solar eclipse can occur on the 27th, 28th, or 29th.
sun and moon
Nawab Siddeeq Hasan Khan writes in his book Hujajal Kirama (in Persian, published in 1271 Hijri ) on page 344 that according to astronomers a lunar eclipse does not take place on any date other than 13, 14 and 15; and in the same way a solar eclipse does not take place on any date other than 27, 28 and 29.
Professor F. Richard Stephenson, who has devoted considerable effort in the study of ancient records of eclipses, writes in his book, "Historical Eclipses and Earth's Rotation" (Cambridge University Press 1997) on page 436 as follows:
"In the Islamic calendar, lunar eclipses consistently take place on or about the 14th day of the month and solar eclipses around the 28th day
Hence considering the dates as 13, 14 and 15 for the lunar eclipse and 27, 28 and 29 for the solar eclipse for interpreting the prophecy in 1894, at the time of the claimant, is quite reasonable. The purpose of the prophecy is to help people to recognize the Promised Divine Reformer and the prophecy has served the purpose very well.
It may also be noted that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas claimed on the basis of Divine revelation, which he received, that the prophecy has been fulfilled in his person. He also declared on oath that he is the Promised Messiah and Mahdi.
In order to understand the Prophecy on the basis of our present knowledge we should note that the time between the astronomical new moon and full moon varies between 13.9 days and 15.6 days as mentioned by Dr Mc Naughton.
Hence if a lunar eclipse occurs on the 12th of a month, the solar eclipse cannot occur on the 28th of the month because in that case the interval between the new moon and the full moon would exceed 15.6 days. If the Prophecy had not laid any restriction on the date of the solar eclipse, the first date of the lunar eclipse may have been considered as 12th. But since the Prophecy has specified the date of the solar eclipse, the first night in the Prophecy has to be interpreted as the first of the well known three nights, i.e. 13th.
The Promised Messiah as also gave another explanation for the Prophechy which is simple but very illuminating. He wrote in his book Noorul Haq Part 2, Roohani Khazaen Vol 8 page 196:
"Dare qutani has recorded that Imam Muhammad bin Ali has narrated that there are two signs for our Mahdi which never appeared before, that is, never occurred for any other person since the creation of the earth and the heavens and these are that the moon will begin to be eclipsed in the beginning of the night in Ramadhan and the sun will be eclipsed in the remaining half of the month.
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The Holy Prophet Muhammadsa stated that in the latter days, the Muslim clerics would be the worst creatures under the canopy of the heavens. And that in the latter days, Islam would start to become divided.
Today, Islam and Muslims are divided. Muslims are fighting against Muslims, and the deep and profound philosophies of Islam have been distorted such that it is unrecognizable when compared to its original teachings.
These are the latter days which were prophesied by Muhammadsa over 1400 years ago. And it is during these days, where a reformer “from among themselves” is needed the most.
The Holy Prophet sa mentioned that in the latter days, there will be 73 sects or divisions within Islam, and that “all of them will be in the fire, except for one”. And when asked by his companions regarding the identity of that one sect that would be saved, the Prophet sa replied that they would be “like me and my companions” (Trimizi).
The Holy Prophet Muhammadsa mentioned that the Mahdi (Divine Reformer) would appear during an event that was never appeared since the creation of the heavens and the earth. That he would arrive when the moon will be eclipsed on the first night (the first nights a lunar eclipse can occur) of Ramadhan (Holy Month of Islam) and the Sun will be eclipsed in the middle (in the nights that a solar eclipse can occur).