22nd April 2022
Jalees Ahmad, Al Hakam
As we enter the last 10 days of the blessed month of Ramadan, we intensify our worship to reap the full blessings of the remaining days of this month.
In the last 10 days, Muslims are reminded to search for the night that is better than a thousand months: Lailatul Qadr (the night of destiny).
The Holy Prophetsa is reported to have said:
“Look for Lailatul Qadr in the odd-numbered nights during the last 10 nights of Ramadan.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Fazlu Lailatil-Qadr)
Hazrat Munshi Abdullah Sanaurira – an ardent companion of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiahas – states:
“Once, I heard from Hazrat Sahib[as] that when the 27th day of Ramadan falls on a Friday, then that night is Lailatul Qadr, the Night of Destiny.” (Sirat-ul-Mahdi, narration 100)
Going through the leaves of history and the life of the Promised Messiahas, we read about a divine vision Hazrat Ahmadas saw in the month of Ramadan – and that too in the last 10 days – in which he was presented before Allah. In 1885, on a Friday during the month of Ramadan, having just offered the Fajr prayer, Hazrat Ahmadas took rest on a charpoy in a small chamber to the east of Masjid Mubarak. With no mattress or pillow on the charpoy, Hazrat Ahmadas cushioned one arm beneath his head whilst the other rested over his face. With him was a devoted companion, Hazrat Maulvi Abdullah Sanaurira, who began kneading Huzoor’sas feet till the sun came out and the room was lit up. Hazrat Ahmadas had placed his head towards the qiblah and face towards the north.
Narrating his sentiments of this moment, Hazrat Maulvi Abdullah Sanaurira says:
“I was thinking with great joy how fortunate I was and what a blessed opportunity had been afforded to me by Allah, the Holy and High, that it was the blessed month of Ramadan and it was the blessed 27th day, the blessed period of the last 10 days [of Ramadan], a blessed Friday, and I was in the company of a blessed person. I thought to myself how many blessings combined for me that day; it would not be strange if God Almighty was to show me some sign of the Promised Messiah[as].” (Al Fazl, 26 September 1916, p. 10)
Hazrat Munshi Abdullah Sanaurira said that he was overjoyed by the blessed moment when, unexpectedly, the Promised Messiah’sas body suddenly shuddered. “Thereafter,” narrates Hazrat Maulvi Sahibra, “Huzooras removed his elbow from his face and looked in my direction. At that point, I noticed that Hazrat Sahib’s[as] eyes were filled with tears.” (Sirat-ul-Mahdi, narration 100)
It was at this moment that Huzooras had just seen a vision in a state of divine inspiration. Narrating what he saw, Hazrat Ahmadas, in his book Surma Chashm-e-Arya, writes:
“I remember that on one occasion, in a state of vision, I saw that I had written certain divine decrees with my own hand setting out events in the future and then presented the paper to Allah the All-Powerful, Gloried be His name, for His signature. […] To the same Peerless and Self-Sufficient Being – Who manifested His attribute of Beauty to my mind in the state of vision and appeared to be God, the All-Powerful – I presented the document containing divine decrees for attestation. And He, Who was manifesting Himself in the form of a Ruler, dipped His pen in red ink and first flicked it in my direction and with the rest of the red ink which remained at the point of the pen He put His signature to the document.
“Thereupon, the state of vision came to an end and when I opened my eyes to look at the material world around me, I witnessed several red drops falling on my clothes. Two or three of the drops also fell on the cap of one Abdullah of Sanaur (Patiala State) who was, at the time, sitting close to me. Thus, the red ink which was part of the vision materialised externally and became visible. Many other such manifestations have been witnessed which it would take too long to relate.” (Surma Chashm-e-Arya, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 2, pp. 179-180 footnote)
Hazrat Ahmadas narrated this same incident in his book Haqiqatul-Wahi. For the benefit of readers, the passage is presented below:
“Once I beheld God Almighty in a spiritual manifestation. I wrote many prophecies with my own hand which meant that such and such events should happen and then I presented that paper to God Almighty for His signature. Allah the Almighty signed it without any hesitation in red ink. At the time of signing, He flicked the pen as one does when the pen carries more than the required amount of ink – then He affixed His signature. I was very emotional at that time with the thought of how great the kindness and favour of God Almighty is upon me that God Almighty has placed His signature on whatever I desired without any hesitation. Right at that moment, I woke up. Mian Abdullah of Sanaur was kneading my feet at that time in the mosque chamber. In front of him, out of nowhere, drops of red ink fell on my shirt and on his cap also. The strange thing is that the falling of the red drops and the flicking of the pen was simultaneous – there was not a second’s difference between the two.” (Haqiqatul Wahi [English], pp. 325-326)
Hazrat Abdullah Sanaurira saw the Promised Messiah’sas eyes filled with tears. Hazrat Ahmadas then covered his face with his forearm, as he had been doing before. Hazrat Abdullah Sanaurira continued to massage the Promised Messiahas. Whilst massaging him, he reached his shin and saw that there was a tiny red drop under Huzoor’sas ankle. He placed his right index finger on it to see what it was and at that moment, the drop spread towards the ankle and onto his finger. He then smelt it to see if it had any fragrance, but there was no smell.
“I [Hazrat Abdullah Sanaurira] was surprised and the verse passed through my mind:
صِبْغَةَ اللّٰهِ وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ مِنَ اللّٰهِ صِبْغَةً
“[‘The colouring of Allah and who is better than Allah in the matter of colouring?’ (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.139)]” (Al Fazl 26 September 1916, p. 11)
Hazrat Abdullah Sanaurira observed a few wet red stains on Huzoor’sas shirt which made him wonder what it was. He then got up and examined the whole room but did not find any red stain anywhere else. He searched for the cause of the drops on and around the ceiling but was unable to understand its cause.
“I even speculated that a lizard’s tail might have been cut causing its blood to fall from the ceiling and thus I searched for some sort of clue on the roof; however, I could not find any. Then eventually I got tired and sat down.” (Sirat-ul-Mahdi, narration 100)
Puzzled by this state of affairs, Hazrat Abdullah Sanaurira resumed kneading Huzoor’sas feet. The Promised Messiahas continued lying down with his forearm covering his face. After a brief interval, Huzooras sat up and went inside the mosque and sat there, where Hazrat Abdullah Sanaurira continued massaging his back and shoulders. He then asked the Promised Messiahas where these red drops came from. Hazrat Ahmadas first replied that it could be the juice from a mango and avoided any further questioning. Hazrat Abdullah Sanaurira then said that the drops could not be from the juice of a mango as it was red.
“Upon this, Huzooras gestured with his head slightly and said, ‘Kithey hai? [Where is it?]’” (Sirat-ul-Mahdi, narration 100). Hazrat Abdullah Sanaurira pointed out the drops on the kurta. Huzooras brought the front of the kurta before his eyes and glanced at the drop on the kurta.
It can be said that it was here the Promised Messiahas understood that the vision he saw, in which God manifested Himself in the form of a Ruler, had materialised in this world also. Before describing the incident and explaining where these drops had fallen from, Huzooras explained, in detail, the matter of beholding God the Exalted and the external materialisation of elements observed in a vision. He further mentioned experiences of Hazrat Muhyiddin ibn Arabirh and earlier saints regarding the seeing of Allah and other visions, aspects of which can manifest in the physical world too.
The Promised Messiahas went on to explain what he had seen in the vision. He said that when Hazrat Abdullah Sanaurira was massaging him, in a vision he saw an extremely spacious and clean house. In that house, there was an elegant throne upon which an individual sat in the form of a ruler. Huzooras said that his heart felt that this individual was in fact Allah, the Lord of all the worlds.
“I [Hazrat Ahmadas] had written down some instructions regarding fate and decree and presented them before Him to sign them. When I approached Him, He very affectionately sat me beside Him on the throne. At that moment, I presented the instructions to get them signed. He dipped the pen in an inkstand of red ink which was nearby, shook it in my direction and placed his signature on it.’” (Sirat-ul-Mahdi, narration 100)
Hazrat Abdullah Sanaurira narrated that the Promised Messiahas imitated with his hand the way in which the pen was flicked and then used to sign.
Hazrat Ahmadas said that the red ink on his kurta were the drops that came out from that pen. The Promised Messiahas then asked Hazrat Abdullah Sanaurira to see if any ink had fallen on his clothes too. He searched but could not find any. Hazrat Ahmadas then told him to look at his cap, to which he then saw that the divine ink had fallen on him also.
Overjoyed by this magnificent incident, Hazrat Abdullah Sanaurira desired to take the blessed relic that Huzooras was wearing as tabarruk [a blessed token].
“I requested the Promised Messiah[as] persistently to bestow upon me the shirt which the red drops had fallen on. He agreed on the condition that I should instruct in my will that on my death, it should be buried along with me. His initial apprehension in bestowing it upon me was to prevent people from converting it into an object of worship after our demises. He gave it to me after a good deal of discussion between us. It is still with me and bears the red stains exactly as they were then.” (Al Fazl, 26 September 1916, p. 11)
This vision, commonly known as the Sign of Red Drops, is a well-known sign in the history of the Jamaat. Those who are unfamiliar with the ways of Allah might fail to understand this sign and some may resort to ridicule – as opponents, such as Maulvi Sanaullah of Amritsar, had done in the past and continue to tread on this path of scepticism – and would altogether doubt this sign.
In relation to this, the Promised Messiahas writes:
“An uninitiated person will not understand this mystery. He will doubt it, because to him it will merely appear to be a matter of a dream. But one who has knowledge of spiritual phenomena cannot doubt that God can create something out of nothing in this very fashion. In short, I related the entire incident to Mian Abdullah; at that time tears were streaming down my eyes. Abdullah who is a witness to this was deeply moved and he acquired that shirt of mine as a holy relic which is still in his possession.” (Haqiqatul-Wahi [English], pp. 325-326)
On another occasion, Huzooras explained:
“It should be remembered that it often happens in visions and divinely inspired dreams that some divines attribute of Beauty or Majesty are beheld by the recipient of the vision in the form of a human being and the person seeing the vision thinks, by way of symbolism, that he is actually beholding God, the Absolutely All-Powerful. Among those with experience of spiritual visions, this matter is well-recorded, known, and accepted as an established fact. It cannot be denied by anyone with experience of visions.” (Surma Chashm-e-Arya, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 2, pp. 179-180 footnote)
In Tazkirat al-Awliya, which is said to be a hagiographic collection of 96 Muslim saints and their miracles, with regard to Hazrat Abdullah bin Jalarh, it is written that he dreamt that the Holy Prophetsa gave him a loaf of bread, which he ate half of in the dream. When he woke up, he states that he found the remaining half of the loaf “still in my hand.” (Tazkirat al-Awliya, Shaykh Fariduddin Attar [d. 627 AH], Published by Al-Farooq Book Foundation, Lahore, 1997, under Hazrat Abdullah Jalarh, p. 238)
Similarly, in Tazkirat al-Awliya, under Hazrat Hassan Basrirh, an incident from his life has been recorded which highlights the mercy of Allah the Almighty along with how a dream can transcend its effect into the material world.
Hazrat Hassan Basri’srh neighbour, Sham‘un, was a fire worshipper who became extremely ill. Hearing about his illness, deeming that his death was near, Hazrat Hassan Basrirh preached to him about Islam. After preaching for a while, his neighbour accepted Islam on the sole condition that Hazrat Hassan Basrirh wrote a testimony that he had accepted Islam, and told him to have it signed by credible men of Basra, and then to place it in his, Sham‘un, hand – at the time of his burial. This is what Sham‘un desired so that, on the Day of Reckoning, he would have proof of his acceptance of Islam.
At his demise, having placed the testimony in Sham‘un’s hand at his burial, Hazrat Hassan Basrirh, on the same night, saw a dream in which he saw Sham‘un, crowned and wearing fine clothes, walking in Paradise. Sham‘un handed back to him the testimony he wrote and said that he no longer needed it. When Hazrat Hassan Basrirh awoke, he found the testimony in his hand. (Tazkirat al-Awliya, Shaykh Fariduddin Attar [d. 627 AH], Published by Al-Farooq Book Foundation, Lahore, 1997, under Hazrat Hassan Basrirh, pp. 20-21)
As for those who oppose and ridicule the fact that Hazrat Ahmadas saw Allah the Almighty manifesting Himself in the form of a dream, they should consider what past scholars have said about this matter.
It is reported that the Holy Prophetsa saw Allah the Almighty in the form of a vision:
رأيت ربي في صورة شاب
“I saw my lord in the form of a young man.” (Al-Asma wa Sifaat, pp. 363-364)
This has been quoted by Imam Ahmad ibn Husayn, better known as Imam al-Bayhaqi, who was known to be a Sunni Shafi‘i muhaddith. The narration of the hadith was transmitted from Hazrat Qatadara on the authority of Hazrat Ikrimahra on the authority of Hazrat Ibn Abbasra.
Further, Imam Al Tabarani, in relation to the above-mentioned hadith is reported to have graded it as sahih. (Ibtal al-Ta‘wilaat, p. 143)
Ibn Taymiyyah, known as “Shaykh al-Islam”, in Bayan Talbis al-Jahmiyyah, writes:
“And the righteous and others still see their Lord in a dream, and He addresses them. And I do not deem a sane person would deny that.” (Bayan Talbis al-Jahmiyyah, Vol. 1, p. 326)
So, for one to oppose and ridicule the Sign of Red Drops and ridicule Hazrat Ahmadas is akin to opposing the vision seen by the Holy Prophetsa and the past scholars who have written about this matter.
In relation to the Sign of Red Drops and the evidence of its reality, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh said:
“The evidence of such people who are known all their lives to be completely [and] absolutely truthful is much more and much greater than the evidence nowadays presented on television and modern papers of people whose previous lives we do not know about. But, of these people [Hazrat Ahmadas and Hazrat Abdullah Sanaurira], we know they would never tell a lie. So, the evidence is very strong, that is why the evidence of Prophets is taken to be the strongest evidence because all their lives they have never told a lie.
“The Promised Messiah, peace be upon him, together with Abdullah Sanauri Sahibra, are known to us, very clearly, never to have said a single word of lie.
“And as I have told you, this evidence is very clear and very specific evidence. But, what about nature? How can we see similar things happening in nature? We have seen similar things happening in nature during the time of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. What about that food which was increased and had become sufficient for the entire army at the Battle of the Ditch? […] The whole army of the Battle of the Ditch witnessed this sign. How can anybody deny [it]? How can a scientist have a right to deny that? And they [the Companionsra] were empty of stomach and they were filled to their capacity, got all their energy, and started working again. So, these things do happen.” (Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh during MTA’s Liqa Ma‘al Arab programme)
During a mulaqat with khuddam from Northern England and Scotland, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa was asked about this vision. Huzooraa responded by saying:
“Sometimes, science cannot comprehend all things which are a matter of spiritual things. It happened and there was a witness, Abdullah Sanauri Sahibra, who attested to the fact that it happened. And the drops also fell on his clothes […] First he thought that there might be some lizard on the roof, and sometimes drops come out if there are lizards or some insects are there, but there was nothing of that sort.
“These are miracles – spiritual miracles. It cannot be proved by scientific formulas, no. So if you have a high spiritual status, then you will understand. And the Promised Messiahas also said there was a witness, there was a presence of some person there […] so we have to believe.” (Al Hakam, 17 September 2021, Issue 183, p. 4)
Indeed, foolish are those who, in the presence of sufficient evidence, outright deny something due to their lack of knowledge, or due to it not corresponding with their train of thought. The lack of knowledge of an experience is never sufficient to negate its occurrence.