Written by Saleh Mohammed Alladin, Retired Professor of Astronomy
Continued from previous post….
The eclipses have also occurred on 13th and 28th of Ramadhān at the time of other claimants to Mahdī.
Reply to the Fifth Allegation:
The fifth allegation has been that the eclipses have occurred on the 13th and the 28th of Ramadhān at the time of other claimants also. The important point in this regard, as already mentioned, is that the claimant should also declare that these are Divine Signs for him. In the article under review it is stated:
“There is no mention whether this sign will occur before the birth, during the life, upon the claim, after the claim, or upon the death of the individual making the claim. Qādiāni (Ahmadi) interpretation is simply without any merit.”
The Promised Messiahas has given valuable guidance in this matter. He says:
The Hadīth does not imply that before the advent of the Mahdī there would be eclipses of the moon and the sun in the month of the Ramadhān, because in that case it was possible that after seeing the lunar eclipse and the solar eclipse in the month of Ramadhān, any impostor could claim to be the Promised Mahdī and the matter would become ambiguous since it is easy to claim afterwards. If after the eclipses there are many claimants it is clear that the eclipses cannot testify anyone (Anwarul Islām, Rūhāni Khazā’in , Vol.9, p.48). From ancient time, this has been the way of God that a Sign is manifested when the Messengers of God are treated as liars and are regarded as impostors (Tohfae Golarviya, Rūhāni Khazā’in , Vol.17, pg.142)
Professor G.M. Ballabh and I investigated the dates of eclipses that occurred in Ramadhān at the time of 25 other claimants to Mahdī. The dates depend upon the place of observation. We calculated the dates with respect to the place of the claimant. We found that for none of the claimants can we definitely say that after their claim in their life time there occurred over their place a lunar eclipse on the 13th of Ramadhān and a solar eclipse on the 28th of Ramadhān in the same month. For details see Al-Fazal International, London, dated June 12, 1998. Furthermore, we do not have any evidence of any claimant who put forward the testimony of eclipses in support of his claim. In the article under review, the author has mentioned the names of Saleh Bin Tarif, Mirza Ali Muhammad Bab, Hussain Ali Bahaullah, Mahdī Sudani, and Dr. Alexander Dowie. The author states that eclipses could have been claimed by them but gives no evidence of their claims from any of their writings. With regard to the above persons, we make the following comments on the basis of our calculations:
1. Saleh Bin Tarif claimed to be Mahdī in 125 AH and ruled until 174 AH. During the period 125 AH to 174 AH, pairs of eclipses occurred in Ramadhān in 126 AH (744 CE) 127 AH (745 CE), 170 AH (787 CE) 171 AH (788 CE). We studied the occurrence of pairs of eclipses in Ramadhān with respect to Morocco, the place of the claimant. We found that in none of these years was the solar eclipse visible from Morocco. The lunar eclipses were visible in 745, 766, 787, and 788 CE.
2. Mirza Ali Muhammad Bab claimed to be Mahdī in 1264 AH (1848 CE) and was killed on 28 Shaban 1266 AH (July 9 1850 CE). During the period 1848 to 1850 CE, there was neither a lunar eclipse nor a solar eclipse in any part of the world.
3. Hussain Ali Bahaullah did not claim to be Mahdī. He claimed to be a manifestation of God in 1867. He died in May 1892 (Encyclopedia Britannica). During the period 1867-1892, we do not have any year in which both lunar and solar eclipses occurred in Ramadhān and were visible in Iran. In 1289 AH (1872 CE) both eclipses occurred in Ramadhān but none of them was visible from Iran. In 1290 AH (1873 CE), both eclipses occurred in Ramadhān but the solar eclipse was not visible from Iran and the lunar eclipse was visible from Iran on 14th of Ramadhān.
4. Muhammad Ahmad of Sudan claimed to be the Mahdī in 1298 AH (1881 CE) and he died on 9th Ramadhān 1302 AH (June 22, 1885). During the period, 1881-1885 neither a lunar eclipse nor a solar eclipse occurred in Ramadhān in any part of the world.
5. Dr. Alexander Dowie did not claim to be Mahdī. He was an enemy of Islām. In 1903 CE, he claimed to be the harbinger of the Messiah. He died in 1907. During the period 1903-1907, there was no eclipse of the sun or the moon in Ramadhān in any part of the world.
Five important aspects of the Prophecy of Eclipses
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamā`at celebrated in 1994 the centenary of the fulfillment of the prophecy of the Holy Prophetsa regarding the signs of lunar and solar eclipses. In the UK, on July 31, 1994, Hadrat Mirza Tāhir Ahmadra, the revered Head of the community gave an illuminating and lucid lecture on the grand prophecy of the signs of lunar and solar eclipses and its exact fulfillment. His lecture was telecast all over the world. In his lecture, he drew attention to the following five important aspects of the prophecy:
1. The lunar eclipse should occur on the first of the nights on which a lunar eclipse can occur.
2. The solar eclipse should occur on the middle of the days on which a solar eclipse can occur.
3. These eclipses should occur in the month of Ramadhān.
4. The claimant to Mahdī should be present before the eclipses, since it is possible that after the eclipses, many can claim and it would not be possible to recognize the right person.
5. The claimant should be aware of the signs and should declare being the Imām Mahdī for whom the heavenly signs have been shown.
Hadrat Mirza Tāhir Ahmadra stated that even after a thorough search of the literature, we did not come across any claimant to Mahdī who had declared that lunar and solar eclipses are Divine Signs for him, except Hadrat Mirza Ghulām Ahmad, the true Imām Mahdī and Promised Messiahas.
Declarations by the Promised Messiahas regarding the signs of lunar and solar eclipses.
While on one hand we do not find in literature even a slight reference to the signs of the eclipses by any other claimant, on the other we find that Hadrat Mirza Ghulām Ahmadas of Qādiān declared repeatedly and emphatically that lunar and solar eclipses are Divine Signs for him. We give three examples from his writings:
In my age only, in the month of Ramadhān, eclipses of the sun and the moon occurred; in my age only, in accordance with the authentic sayings of the Holy Prophetsa and the Holy Qur’ān and earlier Books, there was the plague all over the country, and in my age only, a new mode of transport, namely railways came into existence and in my age only, as per prophecies, terrible earthquakes came. Does not then righteousness demand that one should not be bold in denying me. Look! I swear by Almighty God and say that thousands of signs for establishing my truth have been manifested, are being manifested and will be manifested. If this were a man’s plan, never would he have enjoyed such support and help. (Haqiqatul Wahi,pg.45, Rūhāni Khazā’in ), Vol. 22,
He further said:
And I also swear by Almighty God that I am the Promised Messiah and I am the same person who was promised by the prophets. There is news about me and my age in the Torah and the Gospel and the Holy Qur’ān. It is stated that there will be eclipses in the sky and severe plague on the earth. (Dafiul Balaa, pg.18, Rūhāni Khazā’in, Vol.18, pg. 238)
He also said:
I swear by God in Whose Hand is my life that He has manifested this Sign in the sky to testify my truthfulness, and He manifested it at a time when the Maulvis (theologians) named me Dajjal (Anti-Christ), the biggest liar, infidel and even the biggest infidel. This is the same Sign regarding which twenty years ago I was promised in Braheen-e-Ahmadiyya, namely, Tell them I have with me testimony from Allah, will you believe it or not? Tell them I have with me testimony from Allah, will you accept it or not? It should be remembered that although there are many proofs from Almighty God for vindicating my truthfulness and more than a hundred prophecies that have been fulfilled to which hundreds of thousands of people are witnesses, but in this revelation, this prophecy has been mentioned specifically, i.e. I have been given such a Sign which was not given to anybody else from the time of Adam to the present time. In short, I can stand in the sacred precincts of the Ka’aba and swear that this Sign is to testifying to my truth. (Tohfa-e-Golarviyya; Rūhāni Khazā’in, Vol.17, pg.143)
Hadrat Ahmadas has written in his book Haqeeqatul Mahdī that all the ahadīth in which the coming of the Mahdī is foretold are not verifiable and cannot be relied upon.
Reply to the Sixth Allegation:
The author has not properly translated the passage from Haqeeqatul Mahdī, Rūhāni Khazā’in, Vol. 14. pg. 429. The actual words of the Promised Messiahas are as follows:
Regarding Mahdī and Promised Messiah, it is my belief and the belief of my Jamā`at that all ahadīths of this kind in which the coming of the Mahdī is foretold are not verifiable and cannot be relied upon.
In the article under review, the words ‘of this kind’ are missing. The context shows that the Promised Messiahas has objected to statements in literature such as the following: The Mahdī will kill the Christians and those who remain will not be capable of ruling and they will flee in disgrace.
On page 419 of the same volume of Rūhāni Khazā’in (Vol.14) in the book Aiyamus Suleh he has clearly stated that the Hadīth of the signs of eclipses is authentic. He wrote as follows:
That Hadīth is quite correct and is recorded not only in Dar Qutni but also in other books of Hadīth of both Shia and Sunni sects. Furthermore, this principle has been accepted by the scholars of Hadīth that if a prophecy of any Hadīth has been fulfilled, then even if, for the sake of argument, that Hadīth was earlier considered as false, the Hadīth will be regarded as true after the prophecy has been fulfilled because God has borne witness to its truth since except God nobody has power over the unknown. The Holy Qur’ān says: i.e. only the Messengers of Allah can narrate the unseen in a perfect way; others cannot be of this rank. Here Messengers include Resold Nabi, Muhaddith and Mujaddid. (Aiyamus Suleh, Rūhāni Khazā’in Vol.14 pg. 419
Comments on the article entitled “Flaws in the Ahmadiyya Eclipse Theory” by Dr. David McNaughton.
Hadrat Imām Baqar Muhammad bin Alias has narrated the following Hadīth (sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa):
For our Mahdī (Divine Reformer), there are two signs which have never appeared before since the creation of the heavens and the earth, namely the moon will be eclipsed on the first night in Ramadan (i.e. on the first of the nights on which a lunar eclipse can occur) and the sun will be eclipsed in its middle (i.e. on the middle day of the days on which a solar eclipse can occur), and these signs have not appeared since God created the heavens and the earth. (Dare Qutni Vol. 1, pg. 188)
In the literature of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the dates of the lunar and solar eclipses have been taken as 13, 14, 15 and 27, 28, 29 respectively of the Islāmic calendar. Dr. David McNaughton has pointed out that lunar eclipses can occur on 13th, 14th and 15th and solar eclipses on 28th and 29th. Only under special circumstances, a solar eclipse can occur on the 27th of the Islāmic month. Also, under special circumstances, a lunar eclipse can occur on the 12th.
Hence the dates of the eclipses should be taken as 13, 14, 15 and 28, 29 or as 12, 13, 14, 15 and 27, 28, 29. Perhaps the author is the first person to point out that it is possible to observe a lunar eclipse on the 12th. On the other hand, it seems to be well known from observational records that a solar eclipse can occur on the 27th. I present two examples taken from important books wherein 27th is considered as one of the dates for the solar eclipse. 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 Islāmic 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 Hadrat Mirza Ghulām Ahmadas claimed on the basis of Divine revelation, which he received, that the prophecy had been fulfilled in his person. He also declared on oath that he was the Promised Messiah and Mahdī. In order to understand the Hadīth 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. McNaughton. 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 Hadīth 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 Hadīth has specified the date of the solar eclipse, the first night in the Hadīth has to be interpreted as the first of the well known three nights, i.e. 13th. The Promised Messiahas also gave another explanation for the Hadīth which is simple but very illuminating. He wrote in his book Noorul Haq Part 2, Rūhāni Khazā’in Vol. 8, pg. 196:
“Dar Qutni has recorded that Imām Muhammad bin Ali has narrated that there are two signs for our Mahdī 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 Ramadhān and the sun will be eclipsed in the remaining half of the month.” Professor G.M.Ballabh and I had prepared a list of the years in which both lunar and solar eclipses occurred in the month of Ramadhān from the time of the Holy Prophetsa until the year 2000 A.D. We found that 109 times both lunar and solar eclipses occurred in the month of Ramadhān over some part of the earth or the other. Out of these, only seven pairs of eclipses were visible from Qādiān. Only in the year 1894, the moon began to be eclipsed in the beginning of the night in Ramadhān. The sun set in Qādiān at 18 hours and 41 minutes and the eclipse of the moon began at 18 hours and 56 minutes. (Review of Religions, Vol. 89, Number 9, September 1994, pg. 47)
For a detailed discussion of the fulfillment of the prophecy, please see my article entitled, The Advent of the Promised Messiah as vindicated by the Signs of the Lunar and Solar Eclipses in the Review of Religions, Vol. 84, No 11, November 1989, pages 3 to 24. Answers to some of the objections have been given in my article, The Truth about Eclipses published in The Review of Religions, Vol. 94, No’s 5 and 6, May & June 1999. Almighty God says in the Holy Qur’ān:
He (Allah) is the Knower of the unseen, and He reveals not His secrets to anyone, except to him whom He chooses, namely a Messenger of His. (Chapter 72, Verses 27 and 28)
The remarkable prophecy of the signs of the eclipses and its fulfillment in our age bears eloquent testimony to the greatness of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa.
May Almighty God guide mankind to the right path, amīn.
The prophecy of the Holy Prophetsa regarding the signs of lunar and solar eclipses for Hadrat Imām Mahdī, the Promised Divine Reformer, has been clearly fulfilled in the person of Hadrat Mirza Ghulām Ahmadas of Qādiān, who was a devout follower of the Holy Prophetsa and was deeply filled with his love. He passed away in 1908 but his noble mission of propagating Islām and calling mankind to God Almighty is being continued with great zeal by his worthy successors, all praise to Allah. May Almighty Allah enable mankind to consider with reverence and diligence the precious hadīth of our noble master, the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa and be guided by it to the right path. The remarkable prophecy and its magnificent fulfillment bears eloquent testimony to the truth and greatness of our most reverend master, the Holy Prophet
All praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds.
Source: Taken from Review of Religions, May -June, 1999 http://www.ahmadiyyagazette.ca/archives/archives-2010.html