Usman Shahid Ṣāḥib, Missionary AMJ
Every year the Jamā‘at celebrates Jalsa Muṣleḥ Mau‘ūd on February 20th. This special day is an excellent opportunity to learn about the famous and oft-referenced prophecy and the ways in which its context, importance and fulfillment speak to the larger notion of establishing the renaissance of Islām and its final destined victory.
The world has witnessed this glorious prophecy being fulfilled in the person of Hazrat Mirzā Bashīr-ud-Dīn Maḥmūd Aḥmadra, Khalīfatul-Masīḥ II; this fact is easily verifiable by looking at the miraculous ways in which Hazrat Mirzā Bashīr-ud-Dīn Maḥmūd Aḥmadra fulfilled each and every aspect of this grand prophecy through his extraordinary services. With a slightly different approach, this article will draw upon the writings of the Promised Messiahas and illustrate that not only was the prophecy of Muṣleḥ Mau‘ūd inherently miraculous and fundamentally important, but that according to the Promised Messiahas, it was fulfilled in the person of his son, Maḥmūd. In truth, this prophecy was not about him (individually) but about the symbol he represented in proving the truthfulness of the Holy Prophetsa and the final victory of Islām by fulfilling the 52 major characteristics the prophecy spoke of through the course of his life extraordinaire.
The context under which this prophecy was made can be summarized as follows. When the attacks upon Islām had reached their absolute extremity by non-Muslims, the revival and restoration of the beauties of Islām rested upon the shoulders of one – no less than he who was foretold by the Holy Prophetsa to take on this very task and spur the renaissance of Islām. Accordingly, the Promised Messiahas, in seeking a great sign from God, at this important juncture, went into solitude for a period of 40 days in a town called Hoshiarpur. It was during this period that God accepted the prayers of the Promised Messiahas in granting him this unique and grand sign he had entreated. God the Al-Mujīb [“the Answerer of Prayers”] granted him the glad tidings of a glorious and extraordinary son who would have very specific attributes. This prophecy was written on February 20, 1886. The portion of the prophecy which is directly about the Promised Son is as follows:
He will be accompanied by grace which shall arrive with him. He will be characterized with grandeur, greatness and wealth. He will come into the world and will heal many of their disorders through his Messianic qualities and through the blessings of the holy spirit. He is the Word of Allāh, for Allāh’s Mercy and Honour have equipped him with the Word of Majesty. He will be extremely wise and intelligent, and will be meek of heart, and will be filled with secular and spiritual knowledge. And he will convert three into four (of this the meaning is not clear). It is Monday a blessed Monday. Son, delight of the heart, high ranking, noble; a manifestation of the First and the Last, a manifestation of the True and the High; as if Allāh has descended from heaven. His advent will be greatly blessed and will be a source of manifestation of Divine Majesty. Behold a light cometh, a light anointed by God with the perfume of His pleasure. We shall pour Our spirit into him and he will be sheltered under the shadow of God. He will grow rapidly in stature and will be the means of procuring the release of those held in bondage. His fame will spread to the ends of the earth and people will be blessed through him. He will then be raised to his spiritual station in heaven. This is a matter decreed.1
While other parts of the prophecy spoke about the progeny of the Promised Messiahas, the most substantial portion of the prophecy was related to the Promised Son/Reformer as stated above. A month after the publication of this prophecy, he published another announcement in which the Promised Messiahas described a time-frame for the fulfillment of this prophecy, and said that this Promised Son, “by the promise of God will surely be born within a period of 9 years.”2
Sequence of Events Related to this Grand Prophecy
It would be helpful to get a bird’s eye view of the sequence of events that surround this prophecy.
February 20, 1886 – After Divine guidance/tidings, the Promsied Messiahas writes a note of the Prophecy of Muṣleḥ Mau‘ūd.3
March 1, 1886 – Prophecy of Muṣleḥ Mau‘ūd is published in an appendix of the newspaper Riyad Hind.4
March 22, 1886 – The Promised Messiahas clarifies that the Promised Son will be born within a period of 9 years (and that he could be born earlier or later but definitely within a 9 year time frame).5
April 15, 1886 – A daughter named Asmat is born (passes away in 1891).
August 7, 1887 – A son named Bashīr (Awwal or “First”) is born.
July 10, 1888 – The Promised Messiahas states that another son will be born in the near future named Maḥmūd Aḥmad who will be a person of great resolve.
November 4, 1888 – Bashīr (Awwal) passes away.
December 1, 1888 – The publication of Sabz Ishtihār (The Green Announcement) reemphasizes that the Promised Son would, indeed, be born within the 9-year time frame as was promised by God.
January 12, 1889 – Hazrat Mirzā Bashīr-ud-Dīn Maḥmūdra Aḥmad Ṣāḥib is born – the person who fulfilled this great prophecy in the most glorious and manifest manner.
The most important point to note here is that the Promised Messiahas foretold that he would be granted this Promised Son in a period of 9 years; however, the prophecy neither stated that the first child to be born (after the prophecy) would be the Promised Son, nor stated that no other child can be born within that period. Rather, it simply gave the tidings of a Promised Son, and clarified thereafter, a time-frame of 9 years for its fulfillment. However, the opponents levelled accusations when he had a daughter (who passed away few years later), and then had a son named Bashīr (Awwal), who passed away shortly afterwards; in both instances, the opponents expressed extreme derision and disrespect, stating that the prophecy is not fulfilled. In response, the Promised Messiahas published announcements that clarified his stance and exposed their false interpretations of the Divine Prophecy. At the passing away of Bashīr (Awwal), he wrote a detailed and timely publication, Sabz Ishtihār (the Green Announcement) in which he once again explained the details of the Prophecy and emphatically reiterated that the tidings of the Promised Son were from God and that they would most certainly be fulfilled in the given period. And just as God had told him, the Promised Son was born well within the appointed term as can be seen by the dates mentioned above.
Not Just a Prophecy but also a Grand Heavenly Sign
This prophecy was a manifestation of Divine Succour, but the ways in which it was to be fulfilled also demonstrated its Divine origin and nature. The Promised Messiahas stated:
“Even an ignorant person can understand, by looking at the context of the prophecy in its entirety, that it [the Prophecy] is beyond the power of man and can leave no one in doubt as to its Divine origin.” 6
The Prophecy was inherently miraculous, for in the first place it would fulfill a prophecy of the Holy Prophetsa and therefore, further prove his truthfulness to the world. In speaking of the extraordinary nature of this prophecy, the Promised Messiahas stated on March 22, 1886:
This is not just a prophecy. Indeed, it is a grand heavenly Sign which Almighty God has shown for demonstrating the truth and greatness of the noble, compassionate and merciful Prophet, Muhammadsa. This Sign is hundreds of times greater and better and more perfect and more exalted and more complete than bringing a dead person back to life . . .7
As such, the prophecy was a grand Heavenly Sign that demonstrated the truth of the Holy Prophetsa. In his book Ā’īna Kamālāt Islām, the Promised Messiahas in discussing the Prophecy of Muṣleḥ Mau‘ūd states:
The Holy Prophetsa has already given the tidings that when Promised Messiahas comes, he shall marry and he shall have progeny. This points towards the fact that God Almighty will grant him (the Promised Messiah) such a pious son, who will be a likeness of his father, and will not be against his father, and he will be among the honourable ones of Allāh. And the secret in this is that whenever God gives the tidings of progeny or children to the Prophets or Saints, He does so only when He has destined to grant righteous progeny; and this glad tiding (of Promised Son) is such as was given to me many years ago and even before my claim (of Promised Messiah and Mahdī).8
From the above, it is quite clear that this prophecy and the ways in which it is linked with the Holy Prophet’ssa words (Arabic – “he will marry and have progeny”), the Promised Messiahas knew that this would be fulfilled not through some spiritual son to come in another age, but through his own physical son. The Promised Messiahas states in his book ‘Ijāzul Masīḥ:
And when we depart from this world, after us no other Masīḥ shall appear until the Day of Judgment, neither from the Sky nor from a cave, but that Promised Son who has already been described in the words of my Lord.9
The Promised Messiahas claimed that he would be granted a glorious son and he would be born within a specific time-frame; while a child may be expected after marriage, a normal person cannot guarantee that he would have a son, much less in a given time-frame. However, this guarantee was given to the Promised Messiahas under Divine guidance. Yet, what is even more astonishing than the guarantee of the son within a specific time-frame is that it was juxtaposed with such explicit details of the extraordinary attributes of this son as could not have been conceived by human intellect. For the prophecy to state that the Promised Son would have 52 extraordinary and expansive attributes was beyond the realm of human capacity.
The specificity of this prophecy itself shows that it was from God, and its fulfillment was under Divine Will. And most importantly, if this prophecy was fulfilled in the way it was supposed to be, it would certainly be from God, and therefore prove the truthfulness not only of the Promised Messiahas, but also the Holy Prophetsa and Islām.
Fulfillment of the Prophecy According to the Promised Messiahas
When studying the writings of the Promised Messiahas and considering them collectively and in their appropriate context, a very important point comes to light. According to the Promised Messiahas, there was no ambiguity, no doubt and no apprehension, as to the person who was the fulfillment of this prophecy.
The Promised Messiahas wrote an announcement known as the Sabz Ishtihār (Green Announcement). In actuality, this announcement holds the key to understanding the prophecy of Muṣleḥ Mau‘ūd. More specifically, the Promised Messiahas has described two distinctive ways in which God manifests His Mercy for His people; he explicitly states how each of these two ways of God’s Grace were shown through his own example. He states:
There are two important means through which God sends down His Grace and showers His spiritual blessings:
He tests people through trials and tribulations, and then He opens the doors of His mercy and forgiveness to those who show forbearance and remain steadfast in the face of these trials. He says: [Arabic] It is Our practice that We cause the believers to pass through great trials and tribulations, and We bestow Our Grace and Mercy to those who persevere and We open for them the paths of progress.
The second means by which God’s Grace is manifested is that He sends His Messengers, Prophets, Imāms, Saints and Khulafā’, so that people may find the right path through their teachings, and attain salvation by following their example.
Now, through my progeny, God has willed to use both these means for manifesting His Grace. First of all He sent Bashīr so that He may bring glad-tidings to those believers who remain steadfast and may fulfill the connotation of his name Bashīr [Bearer of Glad-tidings]. For the thousands of believers who, merely for the sake of Allāh, shared the sorrow of his death, Bashīr became a forerunner and an intercessor from God, and he brought them many hidden blessings . . . In order to manifest the second method for bestowing His Grace God will send the second Bashīr, as prophesized in the announcement of July 10, 1888, issued prior to the death of the first Bashīr, in which God revealed to me that He will give me another Bashīr who will be called Maḥmūd and will possess great resolve. ([Arabic] Allāh creates what He wills). God also revealed to me that the prophecy of February 20, 1886 pointed to the birth of two virtuous sons. Up to the words, “blessed is he who comes from heaven”, the revelation refers to Bashīr the First, who was a source of spiritual blessings, and thereafter the revelation refers to Bashīr the Second.10
From the above, it is self-evident and very clear that there were two Bashīrs mentioned in the original prophecy. The words of the prophecy after “blessed is he who comes from heaven” speak of the second Bashīr. In his person (“Bashīr who will be called Maḥmūd”), Allāh would manifest the “second method” for bestowing His Grace which puts him in the category of the “Messengers, Prophets, Imāms, Saints and Khulafā’”; since Promised Messiahas was himself in the category of Messengers and Prophets, what this meant was that this Promised Son would hold the status in the category of Imāms/Saints/Khulafā’ – that is to say, he would be the “Promised Reformer.” As such, the second Bashīr was the Promised Reformer and the Promised Son about whom God had spoken of in the original prophecy.
Indeed, the specific attributes mentioned in this portion of the prophecy [quoted on the first page] were for Bashīr the second, who was going to be the Promised Reformer – the same “second Bashīr who will be called Maḥmūd.” Therefore, in the Green Announcement it was made abundantly clear that this second Bashīr, Maḥmūd, who is to be born within the given period (of 9 years from the initial prophecy) is the Promised Reformer.
The Green Announcement was published prior to the birth of Hazrat Mirzā Bashīr-ud-Dīn Maḥmūd Aḥmadra. However, there is plenty of evidence in the statements of the Promised Messiahas which indicate, in every instance, that whenever he alluded to the Promised Son, Bashīr the Second, mentioned in the Green Announcement, he always considered Hazrat Mirzā Bashīr-ud-Dīn Maḥmūd Aḥmadra as its recipient. The following are some of those statements:
“My first son, who is alive and is named Maḥmūd, was not yet born when I was given the glad tidings of his birth through a vision. I saw his name Maḥmūd written on the wall of a mosque. Thereupon, I published an announcement on green paper, and it was issued on December 1st, 1888.”11
“The birth of my elder son Maḥmūd was prophesied in the Announcement of July 10, 1888 and the Announcement of December 1, 1888, which was printed on green paper; and it was also stated in the Sabz Ishtihār that the son about to be born would be named Maḥmūd, and this announcement was distributed to hundreds of thousands prior to the birth of Maḥmūd . . . Then after this prophecy had been publicized fully through these announcements and no denomination was left unaware of it among the Muslims, Christians or Hindus, then by the Grace and Mercy of Allāh, Maḥmūd was born on Saturday January 12, 1889 CE, Jamadi’ul-Awwal 9, 1306 AH, Sunday.”12
“Then, another sign is that the three sons who are living, before each of their birth, the news was foretold. The birth of Maḥmūd, my elder son, was prophesied clearly in the Sabz Ishtihār together with the name Maḥmūd. That announcement was published with reference to the death of the first boy and comprised several pages like a pamphlet.”13
“The fifth prophecy was concerning the birth of my son Maḥmūd that he would be the next to be born and would be named Maḥmūd. This prophecy was published in the Sabz Ishtihār which was distributed in thousands and is still available. That son was born within the term of the prophecy and is in his ninth year.”14
“Thus—if according to the Divine will—by delay was meant only the period which has elapsed before the birth of this son who has been named Bashīr-ud-Dīn Maḥmūd by way of good omen, then it would be no wonder if he should prove to be the Promised Son. . . .”15
“On the 7th page of the Sabz Ishtihār, there is a glad tiding of the birth of another son stating that a second Bashīr will be given to us whose second name will be Maḥmūd; although he has not been born up to now, December 1st, 1888, but he shall be born according to the Divine promise within the specified time-frame . . . this is the statement in Sabz Ishtihār on page 7, according to which a boy was born on January 12, 1889 who was given the name of Maḥmūd and is alive by the Grace of Allāh, and is now thirteen years old.” 16
Indeed, from the writings of the Promised Messiahas it is very clear that the Promised Son according to the Promised Messiahas was no one other than Maḥmūd; no other son was named Bashīr and Maḥmūd. Hazrat Mirzā Bashīr-ud-Dīn Maḥmūd Aḥmadra was the only one given these names. The Promised Messiahas also stated:
“The Promised Reformer has been named Faḍl in the revelation. His second name is Maḥmūd, and his third name is Bashīr Thānī [Bashīr the Second]. In another revelation, he has been named Fazl ‘Umar.” 17
The fact that Hazrat Mirzā Bashīr-ud-Dīn Maḥmūd Aḥmadra was the Promised Reformer is completely unambiguous from his long, illustrious, and extraordinary services to Islām, which perfectly and completely highlight the fulfillment of not one, not two, but all 52 characteristics given in the prophecy, leaving no trace of doubt. This son became the second Khalīfa and through him spread the message of Islām Aḥmadīyyat to the corners of the world; it is through him that the nations of the world attained blessings; through him the status of Islām and the status of the Holy Qur’ān was manifested to the world; through the blessings of his messianic qualities and the holy spirit many recovered from sickness; through his extreme intelligence and understanding a world has benefitted; and he was one who became a source of release for many in bondage. That he was a fulfillment of every attribute of the prophecy is by no means hidden from the world.
However, the fulfillment of this grand Prophecy in the person of Hazrat Mirzā Bashīr-ud-Dīn Maḥmūd Aḥmadra was, in reality, no surprise at all. The Promised Messiahas himself knew and expounded with clear evidence, as quoted in this article, that this prophecy has been fulfilled in the person of Hazrat Mirzā Bashīr-ud-Dīn Maḥmūd Aḥmad, the Muṣleḥ Mau‘ūdra.
It is for this reason that from the very beginning, whenever the elders of the Jamā‘at spoke of the Prophecy of Muṣleḥ Mau‘ūd before the Jamā‘at, they expressed a definite belief that due to being the fulfillment of the prophecy in the Sabz Ishtihār, Hazrat Mirzā Bashīr-ud-Dīn Maḥmūd Aḥmadra is the Muṣleḥ Mau‘ūd. The definitive knowledge of his being the Promised Son paralleled with the astonishing ways in which each element of the Prophecy was fulfilled in the course of his life.
1. Majmū‘ah Ishtihārāt, Vol 1, pp 100-103. Qtd in Essence of Islām, Vol 5, pp 45-46.
2. Majmū‘ah Ishtihārāt, Vol 1, pp 113.
3. Majmū‘ah Ishtihārāt ,Vol 1, pp 100-103. Qtd in Essence of Islām, Vol 5, pp 44-48.
4. Majmū‘ah Ishtihārāt, Vol 1, pp 100-102. Qtd in Essence of Islām, Vol 5, pp. <<>>
5. Majmū‘ah Ishtihārāt, Vol 1, pp 113. Qtd in Essence of Islām, Vol 5, pp 48.
6. Majmū‘ah Ishtihārāt, Vol. 1, pp 114-115, March 22, 1886.
7. Majmū‘ah Ishtihārāt, Vol. 1, pp 114-115, March 22, 1886.
8. Ā’īna Kamālāt Islām, Vol. 5, pp 578, footnote.
9. ‘Ijāzul Masīḥ, Rūḥānī Khazā’in Vol 18, pp 73.
10. The Green Announcement, pp 18-19, footnote.
11. Tiryāqul Qulūb, Rūḥānī Khazā’in, Vol. 15, pp 214.
12. Tiryāqul Qulūb, pp 42, Rūḥānī Khazā’in, Vol. 15, pp 219.
13. Anjām Ātham, printed 1897, pp 15, Rūḥānī Khazā’in, Vol. 11, Appendix, pp 299.
14. Sirāj Munīr, pp 31, printed 1897, Rūḥānī Khazā’in, Vol. 12, pp 36.
15. Ishtihār Takmīl Tablīgh, January 12, 1889, Majmū‘ah Ishtihārāt , Vol. 1, pp 191–192.
16. Ḥaqīqatul Waḥī, Rūḥānī Khazā’in Vol 22, pp 373-374.
17. Sabz Ishtihār, Rūḥānī Khazā’in, Vol. 2, pp 467, footnote.